A Brain Storm!
Ideas… the seeds to every revolutionary invention, to every step forward, the life-savers that make solutions out of problems.
But how can you help generate them?
On some rare occasions, inspiration strikes like a lightning bolt. Some days it is more like a fading firefly and it needs a breath of life, a little push.
So what happens when you have a really big project in your hands and don’t have time to wait for inspiration to strike?
You need all the brainpower you can amass.
The more minds, the better, to form a super storm of creativity.
A brain storm!
The term ‘brain storming’ was first developed by Alex F. Osborn, a partner in an advertising agency in 1939, when he found that his employees had trouble coming up with good ideas. He decided to introduce group sessions which brought the team together to bounce ideas off of each other. The idea of brainstorming was introduced in his 1948 book Your Creative Power.
It actually means 'storming' the brain to retrieve the ideas, like commandos. He thought the technique was central to his agency’s success.
The main principles of this method were
-Reach for quantity
And were then elaborated into the following rules:
Go for quantity
He believed that quantity and variety of ideas CAN breed quality, leading to the discovery of idea gems.
He believed that criticism would make team members more inhibited and limit their creative thinking so criticism was to be held back at the initial stage of idea generation.
Welcome wild ideas
IN order to reach innovation, he believed in welcoming wild ideas in the mix, to expand the boundaries of the group’s thinking to make the ground fertile for originality.
Combine and improve ideas.
In the end, the best ideas are chosen and some can be combined or developed, to form the ideal solution.
Brain storming, is not only a very powerful tool in forming ideas but it is also a good team-building experience. Having different perspectives and skillsets from a variety of backgrounds, can bring to the table different colors of imaginative thinking and can lead to a collective creation.
It is a method especially useful in creative professions such as ours, since we always push for new and exciting ideas, but it is also utilized massively in the business sectors where to get ahead, you have to be inventive and break barriers.
There are techniques you can implement to ensure this activity is an efficient experience.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Pick a space that will be comfortable, quiet and open to release the involved minds to think with ease.
You will need some place to record the ideas on, the bigger or more colorful the better. It can be a whiteboard, it can be a cork board, it can be a collage of sticky notes. When it helps, make it visual! Use colors, images or items in the room related to the topic or brand. GO VISUAL!
Visualisation is a very important fuel for the generation of ideas. It makes things feel more real and multi-dimensional.
ACTORS / TROOP / TEAM
Of course you will need your stars - the team! A group of individuals, some with an interest and expertise in the topic and some without. The more variety, the better.
Explain the problem that needs to be solved and what needs to be achieved through the solution.
Allow for a relaxed and free atmosphere to inspire wild, ludicrous and a multitude of idea flow.
This is the part where you can evaluate all those free association ideas that are on the board. You can give constructive feedback or even implement a voting method where the top ideas are up-voted and brought into the think-tank where they will be evaluated, deliberated on and then developed.
Brainstorming is a positive and efficient way to get the creative juices flowing and involve more members of the team. Either way, it can be argued that a big quantity of ideas can lead to quality.
And of course, methods of brainstorming can be applied in an individual capacity as well, helping you unleash your own individual brain power.