Brainstorming is an operative method of problem solving on the basis of the creative activity stimulation, when the participants of discussion have to offer a possibly greater amount of variants of decision, including most fabulous. Then, the most successful of the outspoken ideas are taken to implementation. It is the method of expert evaluation.
It was invented in 1941 by copywriter and one of founders of BBD&O, Alex Osborn.
One of the method continuations is a synectics method.
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The correctly organized brainstorming includes three obligatory stages. The stages differ in organization and rules of their realization:
Problem definition is a preliminary stage. At the beginning of this stage a problem must be clearly stated. There is a selection of the brainstorming participants, the assigning of the leader and distribution of roles for other participants depending on the stated problem and chosen method of the brainstorming realization.
Generation of ideas is the basic stage that to a great extent determines the success of the brainstorming.
Therefore, it is very important to observe the rules for this stage:
- The most important is a number of ideas. There should be no limitations on this matter.
- Complete prohibition on criticism and any (including positive) estimation of the offered ideas because such an estimation distracts the participants from the basic task and obfuscates the creative mood.
- Unusual and even absurd ideas are welcomed.
- Combine and improve any ideas.
Selection and estimation of the ideas. This stage is often forgotten, but it is the one that allows to distinguish the most valuable ideas and have the ultimate outcome of the brainstorming. At this stage, unlike the second, an estimation is not limited, and vice versa, welcomed. Methods of analysis and estimation of the ideas can be very different. Success of this stage depends on how close are the criteria of selection and estimation of the ideas among the participants.
For brainstorming there are usually two groups:
- Participants offering the new variants of a problem solution;
- Commission processing the solutions.
There are individual and collective brainstorming.
The participants usually include a few experts and a leader. Before a brainstorming session, the leader clearly outline a thesis statement and the participants start offering the ideas on how to solve the problem, both logical and absurd. If the people of different ranks or grades take part in brainstorming, it is recommended to hear ideas in order of the ranking, which allows to eliminate the psychological factor of “consent to the authority.”
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