Brainstorming

Brainstorming involves focussing on a problem and then allowing participants to come up with as many solutions as possible. 

"During the brainstorming session there is no criticism of ideas – the idea is to open up as many possibilities as possible, and break down preconceptions about the limits of the problem. Once this has been done the results of the brainstorming session can be analysed and the best solutions can be explored either using further brainstorming or more conventional solutions.

Brainstorming is useful in warming up a workshop and creating a sense of unity between workshop participants by ‘breaking the ice’ between them.4

Objectives: Brainstorming aims to develop the broadest possible range of creative options, to evaluate these, and to select the best.

Outcomes: Brainstorming will offer better solutions to a community issue or proposal because a wider range of options has been canvassed."

This description comes from: Department of Sustainability and Environment (2005), Book 3: The Engagement Toolkit.Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders, The Community Engagement Network Resource and Regional Services Division Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment. 

Advice

Advice for USING this option (tips and traps)

  • "Select participants from as wide a range of disciplines with as broad a range of experience as possible. This brings many more creative ideas to the session.
  • Select a leader for the session, who can:

·         Outline any criteria that must be met.

·         Keep the session on course.

·         Encourage an enthusiastic, uncritical attitude among brainstormers.

·         Encourage participation by all.

  • Set times for the whole brainstorming session, and for generating ideas.
  • Keep fresh ideas coming, and welcome creativity.
  • Do not allow any one train of thought to dominate for too long.
  • Do not criticise or evaluate during the brainstorming session (criticism stifles creativity and spoils the fun).
  • Record ideas no matter how unrealistic, until there are no more ideas, or the time allocated for generating ideas is up.
  • Record all ideas on a whiteboard or projector so that all participants can see all the ideas.
  • Encourage ‘spark off’ associations from other people’s ideas, or combinations of ideas.
  • Either evaluate solutions at the end of the brainstorming session to agree on the most practical way forward, or record the session either as notes, tape recording or video for later evaluation."

This advice comes from: Department of Sustainability and Environment (2005), Book 3: The Engagement Toolkit.Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders, The Community Engagement Network Resource and Regional Services Division Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment. 

Resources

  • The Engagement Toolkit: Page 13 of this resource provides a detailed description and advice for using this option.

Sources

Updated: 14th January 2014 - 1:50am
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A special thanks to this page's contributors
Author
Melbourne.

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