How to Run a Brainstorming Session: A Step-by-Step Guide
Brainstorming has a widely use in business field. Here introduces a guidance and tips for how to run a brainstorming session.
The term "brainstorming" was popularized by Alex Faickney Osborn in the 1953 book Applied Imagination. You might have heard the meaning of "brainstorming", such as new ideas collection, come up with solutions to a problem and discuss the most efficient solution. So, why do people tend to use brainstorming to make decisions on business occasion? What is the most effective way to perform a brainstorm session? And what should we pay attention to during the brainstorming? In this article, we'll go over all these questions and try to show you the most effective way to hold a brainstorming session.
In traditional group decision, because of the group members' opinions interplay, it may lead to a result that minorities submitting to majorities or members tend to agree to the experts. This so-called "group thinking" weakens the group critical thinking and creativity, debases decision quality. In order to ensure the quality and creativity of group decision, management science has come up with a series of methods. Brainstorming is one of the most classic ways to hold a group discussion.
Step1: The Preparation
The host and leader should do some research on the related question, to find the crux of the matter and set goals for the brainstorming session. Next, to choose the participants, usually, the number is 5~10, too many people may not do help to the meeting. Finally, to inform the participants of the time, place, the question needs to be resolved, some reference materials, and the meeting goals that should achieve. Also, some other devices and materials: computer (installed MindMaster), projector (if possible), blank paper, pens, topic irrelevant pictures.
Step2: The Warm-up
This stage is to build a free, easy atmosphere to make everybody feel relaxed in the coming brainstorming. Usually, participants have a short small talk before the brainstorming.
Step3: The Proposing and Generating
The proposing stage is the most creative part of the brainstorming. The host announces the begin of the brainstorming and to explain the rules, to introduce the topic question clearly, briefly. The introduction should not include too many details, otherwise, it would restrict the participants to do divergent thinking.
Step4: The Filtering
At the end of the brainstorming, every idea should be analyzed and assessed so that solutions could be discovered. The leader and host put the related and similar ideas together and classify different ideas into categories. Then to discuss these suggestions with participants. During this stage, the group needs to decide which ideas are worth pursuing and which are not. And to list out the possible solutions to make a comparison. Finally, to pick up 1~3 most optimized solutions. Generally speaking, these solutions are the combination of collaborative creativities and multiple advantages. The correct use of brainstorming is a good way to combine collective intelligence.
Detailed steps needed to hold an efficient brainstorming as follows:
- The host opens the MindMaster and locates the "Brainstorming" function on the computer.
- Start "ideas collection" function (shortcut: F9) and timer.
- The host announces the begin of brainstorming and everyone expresses themselves freely. During this time host notes down everyone's ideas on the "ideas collection" zone. Also, if necessary, the host can mark ideas with different colors vary from the speakers.
- To finish the brainstorming within the required time
- To drag the ideas to the canvas and make them branches to the topic question.
In order to allow everyone to talk freely, there are some rules need to follow in the proposing and generating stage.
1.Without criticism. Don't criticize and discourage others proposals that differentiate from your perspectives. Instead, participants should focus on extending or adding to ideas, holding your criticism for a later. By suspending judgment, it will open possibilities for effective idea generation.
2. One proposal at a time, and make sure your speak be concise and explicit.
3. Go for quantity. The more ideas, the more possible to come up with a good solution.
When the brainstorming comes to a dead end, you can do these things. Like taking breaks. You can take a walk or drink some water. Or to hand out topic irrelevant pictures to everyone and let them describe the pictures and their impressions and thinking from the pictures.
Here are some mind map examples showing brainstorming results. Explore more suitable mind mapping templates and customize your own contents of mind maps freely.
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