finding the inspiration: brainstorming…

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22/04/2011 by Sarah Ritchie

“Brainstorming”. What a strange word!

Dictionary.com describes brainstorming as: “a conference technique of solving specific problems, amassing information, stimulating creative thinking, developing new ideas, etc., by unrestrained and spontaneous participation in discussion.

In our design agency, we tend to use brainstorming on the “bigger” creative projects. The ones where two or more brains together will increase the chance of coming up with a really clever or unique idea.

Not only a great way finding inspiration, it also helps with team building and learning about how other people creatively and laterally think.

We usually set a time limit on the brainstorming session…usually around half an hour for even a big project. The concept being to quickly bounce ideas off each other…one idea sometimes sparking another…until a whole swag of ideas are written down. It is not a time for discussion – that could take us off down a distracting rabbit trail! It’s also not a time to remark whether any particular idea is “good” or “bad”…the analysis will come in the next stage.

To ensure a productive brainstorming session there are a few ground rules that we need to follow:

  1. Describe the situation and define the problem.
  2. Involve everyone.
  3. Remove fear – no idea is too stupid.
  4. Set a time to finish the session.
  5. Write and display all ideas on a whiteboard or large sheet of paper so everyone can see.
  6. Quantity, not quality (through quantity you will find quality).
  7. Don’t stop and discuss, keep the momentum going.
  8. Combine and extend ideas…encourage cross-fertilisation.
  9. Look at the situation from a different viewpoint (e.g. as if you were an animal, a politician, a stay-at-home mother, etc.).
  10. Don’t overlook the obvious.
  11. Put on hold all judgements.
  12. Keep on track.
  13. Keep energised.

The main thing to remember is that all brainstorming sessions are worthless unless you put your ideas into action!

This post is part of Sarah’s “Finding the Inspiration” series. Click here for more inspired ideas!

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