Generating ideas: brainstorming
1. To quickly find the maximum number of solutions to a problem or the maximum number of creative ideas: concepts, objects, services...
2. To involve an entire group by lifting value judgements.
3. To open the door to more complex idea-seeking techniques.
You all know the brainstorming invented in 1939 by Alex OSBORN, vice president of the American advertising agency BBDO.
His main goal was to facilitate communication within his team.
He imagined to separate the phases of production of ideas and selection of ideas to get out of the blockages and judgements of the ideas emitted.
But today... do you really master the process? Mastering it is a key to understanding:
- the principle of separation between the two phases: Production (divergence)/Selection (convergence) of ideas.
- the principle of the Free Wheel in the phase of divergence: to express oneself in turn, as quickly as possible, briefly and without judgment.
A few tips:
- The pace is too fast to avoid rationalizations.
- The facilitator writes, numbers and rephrases each word at the same time: he switches from the board to the group very quickly (he can entrust another person with the note-taking to focus on the group and alternate between them).
- This process opens a research process, it is insufficient alone. It is sometimes called "purging" because it "releases" what is known but not expressed.
Formulate the subject
Build a short presentation in the form of a positively formulated sentence, without double negation, that summarizes what you are looking for or what the team is looking for.
Constitute the group
Surround yourself with 5 to 12 people maximum: members of your team, completed by non-experts of the subject and without sharing with you a relationship of direct hierarchy.
Prepare the animation
Make a list of creative stimuli to boost the group's production during "wave dips" like "and again?" "what else?" "Give me a verb of action, a qualifier, a palpable object..."
Criteria to select
Prepare 3 to 4 criterions to sort and prioritize production. They are determined by objectives and context. They can evolve. At the beginning of the search, 3 criterions can be used:
- Making me want to get involved (motivation).
- Feasible/realistic in our context.
Start with your short sentence and invite the group to react in the form of key words thrown into the group. Record everything as you go, repeating aloud everything that is said, while writing and numbering the words expressed.
Stimulate without pause
Re-launch using stimuli prepared in advance or using other stimuli found in the moment, inspired by the production of ideas.
Keep everything and make it visible
Display the entire production as you go. You can still start again from words expressed well before, to go further or more precisely, by still using stimuli.
Proceed to the selection stage
When you feel that the energy of the group can go no further, it is time to sort, prioritize, structure. On the basis of the criteria you have determined, make your choices with colored stickers. For example, 3 stickers in 3 colors. Each one corresponds to the 3 criteria defined at the beginning, which can still be modified at this stage. Each person puts his 9 stickers. You can also circle words of different colors, write them on post-its of 3 families of colors and make a selection table. It's your call.
Make rational/intuitive synthesis
Take back all the information, taking into account the selections, without locking yourself in. Write multiple synthesis on sheets: the whole group, in mini groups, alone... You can cross and enrich your synthesis by passing the sheets. To do this, use both your intuitive sensitivity and objective criteria.