Chances are that you’ve done brainstorming a handful of times in your life already… Like during class, or maybe at work when you were putting together a new project.
Anyway, just because we’ve done something before, doesn’t necessarily mean that we can do it effectively.
And let me be honest with you… I’m not the expert here, but I just want to share my method for brainstorming, and maybe, just maybe you’ll find it valuable as well.
If you don’t know what brainstorming is, whatever you do, just don’t go to Wikipedia to find out. Here’s why, this is their definition:
Brainstorming is a group or individual creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its member(s).
This doesn’t even seem like it’s written in English.
I’ll try to give you a more digestible explanation. For me, brainstorming is simply an activity you do when you take a given issue and try to come up with as many ways of solving it (taking care of it) as possible.
This makes brainstorming one of the more useful business-related practices out there. As we all know, there’s always more than one solution to any given problem, and brainstorming allows us to find them all. No matter if we’re talking marketing, promotion, product development, or anything else an entrepreneur might have to do.
1. Find out what the problem is
There’s always a specific reason why you want to do some brainstorming. Most likely, you’ve stumbled upon a challenge or an issue that you can’t find a simple solution to.
So the problem you’re facing is probably complex and requires a lot of thought to solve. This is the time to define this problem properly. To explain its nature and the reason why it’s so challenging.
If you do this right, all the next stages of your work will be much easier.
2. Start with a goal
Since you know what the nature of the problem is now, you can set a specific goal on what you want to achieve in this brainstorming session. For example, you can aim at solving the problem completely, but you don’t have to, you can set some interim goal.
The most important thing here, though, is to make the goal specific. The more specific your goal is, the more usable it becomes. The whole point here is to use your goal as a benchmark for your brainstorming. When the session is over, you should be able to tell if you did a good job or not based on the fact whether you’ve managed to achieve the goal.
3. Create ideas, don’t judge
Now it’s time to do the actual brainstorming. It’s best if there are more people than just you involved in the process. Four to six people is a perfect team size for brainstorming. Additionally, there should be one person whose job is to write everything down.
The main rule of brainstorming is that there’s no judging. Every idea should be written down. Deciding whether an idea is good or not is not the point at this stage. Again, simply write everything down, and don’t judge.
Also, remember to have the goal in mind at all times.
A perfectly balanced brainstorming session should take around 20-30 minutes.
4. Assess the ideas
Finally, it is time to do some judging. Take the list of ideas that were born during the brainstorming session and grade them according to their perceived value. Mark the top ideas and erase everything that’s simply stupid.
At this moment, you should have about 3-5 good ideas on how to solve the main problem/challenge in a way that meets your main goal.
The next stage is to put these ideas into practice to actually solve the problem, but that’s a whole other thing.
Feel free to comment and let me know what you think about this whole approach at brainstorming. Could it work for you just like it does for me?
Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance writer and blogger. If you’re interested in various online opportunities revolving around freelance writing and how to get paid for writing articles then feel free to visit him at YoungPrePro.