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Secrets Of Effective Brainstorming

Have you been in a "brainstorming" session where each person just defended their own ideas? Worse is when people don't suggest ideas at all, for fear they'll be attacked. That's no way to brainstorm. Brainstorming is using the power of many minds, and ideas should flow freely and trigger other ideas. How do you make that happen?

The Key To Good Brainstorming

You have to have a good leader to have good brainstorming. The leader isn't there to impose his will, though, but to stop the imposition of anyones will. His role is to stop criticisms, arguments, and even strong opinions, at least in the first part of the session.

A brainstorming session needs to be spontaneous, open and uncritical. "Bad" or "silly" ideas can lead to helpful ones, so suggestions have to be left un-judged at first. To brainstorm effectively, you can't stifle the creative process. The leaders job, then, is to make everyone feel free to suggest any ideas.

An Example Of Good Brainstorming

The scenario: your business needs to cut delivery costs. The group throws out ideas and thoughts. "Let's not deliver," someone suggests, and when another starts to criticize, you remind him of the rules. "Negotiate lower rates," somebody says, "Or just find a company with lower rates," another adds. Ideas like reducing package weight and charging customers more are suggested, and lead to other ideas.

You keep it civil, take notes, and eventually call a halt to this free-for-all part of the session. Now it's time to evaluate and develop the ideas for whatever usefulness they may have.

To keep the creativity flowing in this stage, have participants defend or develop ideas that are not their own. This brings new insight to the idea, and prevents the problem of ego-identification that causes people to get "stuck in a rut" with their own ideas.

For example, ask the man who was critical of the idea of not delivering to work with that idea. "We have to deliver," he might start with. Then he thinks for a second and says, "I suppose we could deliver to central distribution points instead of to the individual customer. The customer could drive a short distance to pick up their order. That might save us on shipping."

Someone else suggests that the customers may like the arrangement. They would be able to return the product immediately if they were dissatisfied, with no need to pack and ship it. You assign a couple people to look into it, and move on to the other ideas.

Good leadership keeps the whole process working. In the last example, you've even used a "bad" idea to come to a possible solution. That's good brainstorming.

Steve Gillman has been studying brainpower enhancement, creative problem solving, and related topics for years. You can visit his website, and subscribe to his free Mind Power Course, at: http://www.IncreaseBrainPower.com/mind-powe r.html

In The News:

NASA flight engineer Kathleen "Kate" Rubins set out on her fourth career spacewalk on Friday, in an effort to ready the International Space Station (ISS) for solar array upgrades.
Astronauts from NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have embarked on the year's fourth spacewalk to service the International Space Station.
NASA is slated to announce what it says is a "series of firsts" in its Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission.
A flutter of earthquakes shook Oregon's Mount Hood on Monday. 
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched 60 new Starlink satellites early Thursday morning.
An ancient Egyptian papyrus version of "Mummification for Dummies" has been revealed by a Danish Egyptologist as the oldest how-to guide yet found.
For the first time in history, astronomers have detected what they've deemed a "space hurricane" in Earth's upper atmosphere.
The asteroid Apophis, nicknamed the "God of Chaos," will pass by Earth on Friday.
Residents of the U.K. were surprised over the weekend when a slow-moving meteor blazed across the night sky.
A massive iceberg, larger than New York City, recently broke off from an ice shelf in Antarctica, according to researchers on Friday. 

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