Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.

Jim Rohn (1930—2009)
US entrepreneur and motivational speaker

Brainstorming is a useful way of generating new ideas and solutions from a group’s knowledge and experience. In order to create a storm in someone’s brain there shouldn’t be any limitations to the ideas they are allowed to propose. In other words, all suggestions are valid.

Basic Rules of Brainstorming

Make sure that participants are familiar with the four basic rules:

  • Do not comment on or judge ideas.
  • Ideas will be forced under time pressure so set a time line and focus on quantity.
  • Taking one suggestion and combining it with another is allowed.
  • Free association is welcome.

Define and introduce the problem or topic. Perhaps you have material prepared for it. Explain the moderation method you want to use and make sure that it is understood. Any interruptions during the process are not only annoying but hamper it. After the initial brainstorming session, you go through all the ideas and assess their usefulness — not during the initial session!

Brainstorming sessions moderated in different ways could lead to better outcomes. Besides the different techniques mentioned here, you could also use MindMap, Six Thinking Hats, World Café as well as Open Space.

The oldest form: On Call

Research has shown that free brainstorming does not lead to more or better results as often participants are influencing and sometimes blocking other ideas. Nonetheless, it can be an useful means of managing a group dynamic by ensuring everyone’s participation in a solution-finding process.

The biggest danger is that the loudest ones wins. Introverts might be left aside. Thus, I might not recommend this form right away.

Nevertheless, if it’s about being quick and the question is not that important you can give it shot.

Alternatives could be:

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