Brainstorming is a technique for triggering creativity. As you can probably guess, it’s about simulating the brain in order to come up with original ideas. Here I’ll explain what brainstorming is about and how to do it effectively.
Its primary objective is to get your mind out of the box by producing as many solutions (or ideas) as possible. Later, you can evaluate all those options and decide which one is more suitable for the situation you’re trying to work out.
The concept of brainstorming was created by advertising executive Alex Osborn in the 50’s and since then, it has been a most effective method that is still considerably practiced today. In a group that’s brainstorming, an ideal number of people would be from 4 to 7, but this can vary and of course you can also do it individually.
How to properly do it
It combines a relaxed, informal approach to problem solving with lateral thinking. To get the most of your brainstorming session, choose a comfortable place to sit and think. Minimize distractions so you can focus on the problem at hand and consider using mind maps to arrange and develop ideas.
In Spanish, brainstorming is called “lluvia de ideas”, which literally means “rain of ideas”. So you can picture how fun that would look like: a colorful shower of the things that come up to your mind, no matter how crazy they are.
That’s how brainstorming should be: to have fun while coming up with creative and original ideas.
Four rules of brainstorming
Basically, there are four rules of doing it properly:
- No judgements. This is the first rule of creativity in general, really. Don’t discard anything when you’re brainstorming.
- Think freely. As I said before, no matter how crazy it is; while brainstorming, ideas are neither silly nor impossible. Allow yourself to imagine as much as you want.
- Big numbers. The more ideas, the better. It obviously depends on the situation, but try to produce at least 20 solutions and then you’ll see how much it helps.
- Many heads are better than one. When you’re doing it in a group, accept other people’s ideas. You all work on each other’s contributions and then these will grow.
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