Brainstorming definition is that a problem-solving method where teams generate ideas in an interruption-free environment. The result is a wide range of views that allows the team to find the most innovative solutions to the problem.
The best part about brainstorming is that it allows you to think outside the box. This breaks the monotonous way of problem-solving and gives better output. It will enable you to understand the problem better and think in all directions to find a solution. Later, you can link all the ideas to find the best solution.
Brainstorming: Here’s What You Need to Know
Here are a few things to get the most out of brainstorming sessions.
Steps to Take Before Brainstorming
Even before you start brainstorming, it’s essential to consider a few factors. Let’s take a look at them.
1. Identify the Problem
First things first, you have to identify the problem so that you have a clear understanding of the challenge. This way, the ideas discussed in the session will be more likely relevant to the problem.
2. Define the Goal of the Session
Here again, the goal of the session has to be crystal clear. This ensures that the discussion focuses on the problem and that everyone works on the same purpose.
3. Choose the Right Participants
By “right,” I mean the participants who are experts in the field or have knowledge of the topic at hand. Also, the number of participants is essential. Make sure to keep them from 10-12 to allow for better management.
Guidelines for Brainstorming Sessions
To ensure the best results, here are a few guidelines you need to follow.
1. Encourage active participation from all participants
The brainstorming session should involve active participation from everyone. You can allow solo thought time or engage them in group activities.
2. Avoid criticism:
Throughout the brainstorming process, you should avoid criticism. You can accept all ideas and then evaluate them later. Choose the best ones later.
3. Prioritize quantity above quality.
The goal here is to develop as many ideas as possible without considering the quality. This helps in generating a variety of ideas that you can refine later for optimum results.
Techniques for Generating Ideas
There are various brainstorming techniques to use. Let’s discuss the most effective ones.
1. Mind Mapping
Hands down, this has to be the best technique for brainstorming. It involves creating a visual map of ideas. The topic starts with a central idea and branches into subtopics.
Pro-tip: Go for digital mind mapping tools instead of pen and paper, and you’ll see a huge difference.
2. SWOT Analysis
It is a tool for determining strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. All these have an impact on the problem or challenge that you want to solve for a business.
SCAMPER stands for Substitute, Merge, Adapt, Modify, Put to another Use, Eliminate, and Rearrange. It helps you generate new ideas by asking questions. This helps in exploring different aspects of an existing idea.
Benefits of Brainstorming
People are going crazy over Brainstorming. Here’s why.
1. Improves Creativity
We discussed how brainstorming is judgment-free. This gives confidence to the participants to express their ideas freely. Now, they can share their opinions no matter how strange they sound. This greatly helps bring creativity to the table.
2. Encourages Innovation
Brainstorming by following specific rules and in a free environment makes wonders happen. For example, you put a question ahead, like what do we do in x scenario, and everyone comes up with a solution. You can develop an innovative solution by combining good parts of everyone’s responses.
3. Helps Solve Problems
The whole concept of brainstorming boils down to problem-solving. Brainstorming allows for open communication among teammates. This helps generate more ideas in less time. A good brainstorming session can produce hundreds of ideas, and each one can lead to dozens more!
4. Enhances Teamwork
A supportive work environment performs better. It enables workers and team members to understand how those around them think. Learning about each other’s strengths and limitations promotes diversity within the team. This increases productivity and hence output.
Tools for Brainstorming; Which One Should You Choose
After understanding all about brainstorming, it comes down to which tool is best for effective brainstorming. Let’s throw light on some of the popular ones.
1. Google Docs
Google Docs is a free cloud-based document editor that enables multiuser collaboration. It has features like comments, suggestion mode, and simultaneous editing. This helps brainstorm and allows team members to collaborate on a single page.
However, Google Docs lacks visual and organizational capabilities. So if you’re high about making mind maps appealing, look for other options.
EdrawMind enables users to brainstorm and arrange thoughts visually. Users can easily add and change ideas and concepts thanks to its user-friendly design. Also, EdrawMind provides various advanced tools to enhance brainstorming. It has built-in templates and themes, which makes it simple and quick for users to get going.
Besides, photos, icons, hyperlinks, and other formatting options are available. This makes it simple for other participants to contribute to the brainstorming process.
3. Visual Thesaurus
Visual Thesaurus is an interactive visualization tool. It helps users to brainstorm and explore the connections between words and ideas. It enables users to map ideas and discover new relationships and connections. It also helps users expand their ideas by exploring related concepts.
Despite these features, the tool fails to provide organization and visual representation. Meanwhile, you don’t get to use images, icons, and hyperlinks.
Bubbl.us is a web-based tool that enables users to generate and arrange ideas visually. Users can produce diagrams, mind maps, and concept maps to share with others. Bubbl.us, team members can collaborate in real-time on a single document.
Although Bubbl.us allows customization and collaboration, you’ll see it offers little flexibility. Meanwhile, it doesn’t excel in providing the best collaboration and customization features.
Brainstorming is a problem-solving technique used to generate ideas. Whether you’re working with a team or individually, the process promises to be helpful. When done right, the method can offer many benefits. It encourages creativity and innovation. It creates an ideal teamwork environment and solves problems creatively.
Now, there are various tools available for brainstorming. Yet, to save you time and effort, let’s discuss them to find the best one available. Google Docs is great for collaboration but lacks visualization features. Visual Thesaurus and Bubbl.us provide visual mapping options but have limitations.
In conclusion, EdrawMind is the most versatile tool. It offers built-in templates, real-time collaboration, and an easy-to-use interface. Give it a try yourself!