Brainstorming ideas for a project, task or an assignment is very important. However, it must be done right. As such, here is an effective brainstorming method you can consider for your next brainstorming session. In this method, you will need a Facilitator/ Judge/ Executioner, in addition to the participants.
The Facilitator / Judge / Executioner (or you alone) will also be the time-keeper. This is where it starts to get fun. The point to take note of here is Quantity, not Quality. Your objective is to produce as many ideas as possible, the more the merrier, in a set limit of time. Make it five minutes or ten minutes if it’s a particularly difficult problem.
Set a timer or stopwatch for five minutes or whatever amount of time you’ve agreed upon. Start the timing device and begin pouring out all your ideas, thoughts and notions into index cards without any stops or pause in brain-to-hand activity, ferociously and relentlessly going at it even if the sky were to fall during the space of those crucial five minutes. lease note that you should only write one idea on each index card.
The Facilitator / Judge / Executioner need not participate in the activity, unless absolutely needed. He, she or it is entrusted with the noble task of delivering justice to those who judge ideas upon infant inception by pulling and releasing the rubber band of chastisement upon the guilty.
If you are using the top-down approach, feel free to jump from one category or grouping to another. You are not restrained in any way at all. There are only 2 rules to this game:
1. Judge not.
2. Strictly abide by the time limit.
After the time limit is up, you will have a bunch of index cards each filled with a brilliant, mundane or zany idea. Now is the time to group them into categories that make some relevant sense to the problem being discussed. At the center of the whiteboard or drawing paper, write or draw a symbol to represent the overall idea or problem that is being discussed. You are going to make a graphical map to help you group the ideas you have come up with. If you had used a top-down approach, draw branches sprouting out of the central idea and label them by the names of the categories or groupings you have chosen. If you had used a bottom-up approach, or both of them, now is the best time to look at the ideas written on the index cards and generate some sensible names or labels to categorize or group them. Write these labels on the branches of the graphical map you’d drawn on the whiteboard of drawing paper.