Start by explaining the rules for brainstorming.
1. Defer Judgement – Don’t judge your own ideas or those of others
2. Go for volume – 100 better than 10
3. One conversation at a time – focus
4. Encourage wild ideas – the crazier the better
5. Build on the ideas of others – leverage perspectives
6. Stay on topic – stick to the “how” problem
7. Be visual – communicate your ideas for teammates by sketching
(Source: D.School, Stanford University)
After the brainstorming rules have been presented one team member is handed a post-it pad and the time-keeper sets of the exercise.
- When the exercise begins the person with the post-it pad starts by writing down one idea and placing it on the wall.
- Then the post-it pad is passed around. Each team member takes turns writing down an idea, saying it out loud and placing the post-it on the wall. Remember to number the ideas so you can keep track of how far you are.
- Continue taking turns generating ideas until the 15 minutes are up. Aim for getting at least a 100 ideas in total.
After this brainstorm you may need to categorize and analyze your ideas, which we suggest you do with this method for Idea clustering.
Some brainstorming fundamentals:
- Individuals are better at generating ideas than groups (Girotra et al., 2009)
- Groups are better at selecting the best ideas (Singh & Flemming, 2009), which can be related to “wisdom of the crowds” (Surowiecki, 2004)
- Individuals are significantly worse at selecting their own creative ideas (Faure, 2004; Putnam & Paulus, in press; Rietzschel, Nijstad & Stroebe, 2006)
You can find inspiration and references to the theory behind the creative processes and techniques in this literature list.
You will need large sheet of paper (a flipchart) or Post-its.