Brainstorming is one of the techniques that require the active participation of the participants and thereby contribute to, if not greater productivity, then at least more interesting the training or business meeting. It encourages creativity at the group and generates a large number of different ideas that represent the solution of the problem.
Although numerous studies did not prove the effectiveness of this method, in the sense that you really get on the quantity and quality of generated ideas, one thing is certain, that this technique contributes to the participants’ satisfaction, teamwork seems interesting and helps to build a team.
If we decide to start brainstorming process it is necessary to respect four basic rules in order to reduce maintenance (inhibit) the participants and stimulate them to express new ideas.
Direction on quantity – require that is placed in front of the participants is to focus on the quantity and try to give as many different ideas, without burdening with the quality of the same. The assumption is that, if a lot of different ideas is brought out, the chance to find the right solution is higher.
Without criticizing at the start. Participants are asked to refrain from any critical remarks and that what they notice as a weakness of certain ideas present later when the evaluation comes up. The aim is to create an atmosphere in which participants will feel accepted and free to express whatever comes to their mind, no matter how unusual, and perhaps at sight glance ridiculous is. Participants should break free of self-censorship.
Creativity is needed. This rule stems from the previous one and shows that unusual and unexpected ideas are highly desirable because such an idea can start participants’ thinking in a completely new way of and looking at things, thanks to which can cause unexpected and radical solutions.
Combining and enhancing already outlined ideas. The combination of different ideas can generate completely new ideas that can be further improved. In this process, an important role is played by the association.
The brainstorming can optionally be preceded by the questorming, which first defined the questions that we need to answer with brainstorming. However, usually, a brainstorming technique begins immediately with the presentation, description, or by defining the problem. The problem must be clear, not so complex that it cannot be expressed with one question. An example would say: “What function does not have a cell phone, but is needed?” If the problem is too complex it should be divided into smaller problems, where each of them can be expressed with another question. However, some problems are multidimensional, for example, ‘What depends on the performance of managers? ” and are not suitable for brainstorming technique because they are too broad and it’s difficult to work brainstorming without dividing these issues to more specific and simpler problems.
During the brainstorming session, the creativity may start to wane. At this point, you need to have ready the questions that can further stimulate the creativity of participants, like, “Can we combine ideas?”, “Can we look at things from another angle?”, “How can we change this idea so that it can be useful? ” and etc.
Then, when the time for presenting ideas expires, it should start approach to the elaboration of those ideas, including further work on its quality and classification of different categories. During this process, a lively discussion is led, thanks to which many of the ideas become crystallized and often generate more new ideas are generated. The brainstorming is not generating ideas for someone else who will make their evaluation and selection. On the contrary, the group generates ideas for themselves, so can make them assessed and processed in the final stage of brainstorming, and come to the one that will be a solution of the problem to which will the team come in their common effort.
Different variants of brainstorming
1. The technique of group equity (nominal group technique) is committed to the equality of all participants in the brainstorming process. Equality is achieved in the way that all participants are asked to anonymously write down their ideas in the following way: one participant collects all the ideas, writes them on the board and asks all participants to comment and vote for ideas so they can make a ranking list of presented Idea. Voting can be extremely simple, for example, that everyone who support a certain idea, raise a hand. This is the so-called process of “distillation” after which some of the best ideas rise to the top of the rankings. The best ideas are then the material on which the basis the brainstorming process continues. In fact, sometimes the ideas that were previously dropped after re-evaluating come to the first plan.
2. Technique “forward group” (group passing technique) in which each participant has a blank sheet of paper where they write down their ideas and forward to a participant who is sitting on his right and he files his idea. Papers circulated until each participant gets his piece of paper with a list of ideas of all participants.
3. The method of mapping the idea of the team (team idea mapping method) is based on a process of association. The basic idea of this variant is to maximize cooperation within the team and quantity of ideas what will allow all attendees to participate and no one’s idea will be rejected from the start. The process begins with a well-defined problem around which each participant develops an individual brainstorming process. At the end, all the ideas are combined into one large map idea that is the material for further group brainstorming and generating new ideas that are also becoming part of the folder. Finally, if all ideas have been exhausted, access is giving priority to certain ideas and taking specific action.
4. Computerized versions of brainstorming. Information technology enables the computerized version of brainstorming techniques like email correspondence or use of brainstorming software. When brainstorming email correspondence (electronic brainstorming) facilitator sends the question to all members of the team, and they send him their ideas independently of each other. The moderator then makes a list of all received idea forwards back to all members to view and provides feedback. Another variant (directed brainstorming) is when moderator sends to all members of the team the question that asks them to give only one idea as a possible solution, which he sends to other members asking them to make a proposal how this idea could be improved.
In any case, regardless of the version employers choose, brainstorming is a popular method of group interaction to the process of education, as well as in the business environment. Although there is no firm evidence to corroborate its effectiveness. One thing is certain and that is that brainstorming is always well accepted by the participants.
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