All companies and organizations have the need to generate new and innovative ideas to remain competitive in the reference market, managing not to succumb to competitors, facilitating decision-making processes and satisfying the emerging needs of its customers. It is not always easy to find the right idea, but there are methods that allow the identification of new inputs and solutions to be perfected and adopted. Among these there is il brainstormingwhich literally means ‘brain storm’.
The most attentive companies, which have trust and respect in their team, periodically organize brainstorming sessions, above all in view of the launch of new projects. Let’s find out what it is, how to organize one, what tools can be useful, advantages and disadvantages.
Brainstorming, what it is and its origins
Brainstorming, whose translation from English is brain storming, is nothing other than a group creative technique and a method of searching for new ideas and solutionsnecessary to manage and resolve problems and unexpected events.
Initially it was a term that was used in the advertising and marketing sector, thanks to its introduction by the advertiser Alex F. Osborn around the 1930s, but subsequently spread to companies belonging to different sectors. Today, it is widely used in many companies around the world.
Brainstorming can be used in the advertising field to create successful slogans, images and advertising campaigns, in companies to develop new products that have unique characteristics, for event planning and much more
Multiple people participate in a brainstorming session they can freely express their thoughts, spontaneously and immediately. All ideas are taken into consideration and collected, without any exclusion and without any censorship, since each of these can function as a stimulus for the people involved in the activity.
The ideas are analyzed only at a later time, delving into details, possibility of application and identifying any improvements, obstacles and opportunities to be seized.
The advantages guaranteed by the use of the brainstorming technique in the company are many. It helps to perfect company projects, involving collaborators and giving them the opportunity to express ideas and doubts in a calm and non-judgmental space, promotes the development of the ability to problem solving in all participants, it enables innovation, encourages creativity and improves the ability of teams to work together.
How to organize a brainstorming, the rules to follow and the mistakes not to make
Organizing effective brainstorming requires a lot of attention. It’s important perform the task in a bias-free environment and that it is not judgmental. Participants must feel free to express their ideas and must be invited to express themselves.
While it is not appropriate to set limits, it is good indicate the theme and objective at the center of the discussion, outline the context and ensure that all participants have understood everything necessary. With this in mind, the appointment of a moderator is necessarywho can guide the session, ask stimulating questions, facilitate the integration of each member and bring the conversation back to the topic of the meeting if it gets too far away.
The presence of the moderator is essential for the brainstorming session to be productive and to ensure that the conversation does not go off topic.
In general, it is good to invite participation teams, employees and professionals with different backgrounds and preparations. This allows us to collect very different ideas from each other and generate unique synergies. The number of participants must not be too high, to avoid confusion and misunderstandings, or too small.
In a first phase of brainstorming, the production of unlimited ideas must be stimulated. We start with clarification of the problem and objective by the moderator and the rules to follow. In a second phase, the ideas are analysed, reworked and explored in depth. It concludes with a summary of the proposals.
To obtain good results, criticism or negative comments must be avoided, the quantity of ideas must take priority over quality and participants must feel free and inspired by their colleagues. No proposal should be overlooked or ignored.
Brainstorming techniques and methodologies and useful tools
There are different brainstorming techniques and methodologies that can be exploited and numerous digital tools and platforms to be used to facilitate the execution of the activity.
Il brainstorming ABC asks people to find an idea by associating it with each letter of the alphabet, encouraging everyone’s participation, but risking limiting their creativity. In the brainstorming inverso the team is asked to conceive and identify problems in order to anticipate unexpected events and have solutions before they occur.
Another method for brainstorming is asking employees to pronounce the first words that they spontaneously associate with a theme, regardless of the meaning and motivations. By reducing spontaneity, you can opt for un brainwritingin which participants write their proposals privately and give them to a moderator to be analyzed in a group discussion.
Yes it can to adopt the 5 whys modeltrying to analyze the root of a problem, that of rapid ideation or starbursting, which asks the team to find questions and not answers.
Among the tools that can be used are: conceptual or mental mapsdigital post-it notes, virtual whiteboards, tools that generate keywords, programs for creating online surveys or that make it possible to gamificationfor engaging and fun brainstorming, and time management apps.
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