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What is Brainstorming?
Brainstorming is a technique used by businesses and individuals alike to generate new and creative ideas. Brainstorming is supposed to banish traditional or safe ways of thinking in favor of more spontaneous and often more insightful ones. The techniques are based on the premise that too much analysis is sometimes responsible for the clogging of unique ideas and relies on fast responses to avoid getting bogged down in too much thought.
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There are a number of examples of brainstorming business processes that can illuminate the way forward if the aim is idea generation. A few of the techniques used by businesses are listed below.
Creating a mind map of the solutions generated is easy. Of course there must be a designated note-taker who is supposed to document all the ideas in the right order. The participants can either be faced with a few suggestions and then asked to contribute in turn by associating the word or idea with another one. The process of association builds out the ideas and everyone gets to contribute. Alternatively, the participants may be asked to brainstorm separately at first and then their ideas are compiled using the idea-mapping process and the final stage involves further idea generation when the participants see all their ideas together.
This type of brainstorming is slightly different but it often works because no one is expected to provide any answers. Instead, the participants are asked to come up with questions related to the problem or issue at hand. They must use the time to ask questions on the topic, these questions are written down and then they are examined at a later stage. The questions that arise out of these brainstorming sessions often lead to solutions that are markedly different to the run-of-the-mill answers.
The Pass Technique
Brainstorming using the pass technique involves sitting in a circle or around a table and offering solutions in a fast paced manner. If a participant does not have an idea they must say "pass" and allow the session to continue because the point of the session is to minimize too much critical analysis. When the ideas are blurted out in this way there is no time to think long and hard before volunteering a response. Some great solutions are found in this way.
This method of brainstorming business processes involves using a mixture of individual and team participation. The attendees are asked to write down one solution or idea on a piece of paper and then these papers are switched with other attendees. The next step is to either build on the previous idea or use association or mind-mapping to come up with another idea that is related to the one on the page. This process is repeated until all the papers have been passed around at least a few times.