Attempts at brainstorming

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

This seems to be a week of "storms", beginning with Sunday's sermon on life storms and now into brainstorming at work.

What we call a brainstorm however, is mostly just a more intense and focused discussion. Based on my short reading and research, it is popularized by Alex Faickney Osborn in his 1953 book, Applied Imagination, and what we did was a far cry from what it's suppose to be.

Here is what Wikipedia says:

Osborn claimed that two principles contribute to "ideative efficacy," these being :

1. Defer judgment,
2. Reach for quantity.

Following these two principles were his four general rules of brainstorming, established with intention to :

- reduce social inhibitions among group members,
- stimulate idea generation
- increase overall creativity of the group.

1. Focus on quantity: This rule is a means of enhancing divergent production, aiming to facilitate problem solving through the maxim quantity breeds quality. The assumption is that the greater the number of ideas generated, the greater the chance of producing a radical and effective solution.

2. Withhold criticism: In brainstorming, criticism of ideas generated should be put 'on hold'. Instead, participants should focus on extending or adding to ideas, reserving criticism for a later 'critical stage' of the process. By suspending judgment, participants will feel free to generate unusual ideas.

3. Welcome unusual ideas: To get a good and long list of ideas, unusual ideas are welcomed. They can be generated by looking from new perspectives and suspending assumptions. These new ways of thinking may provide better solutions.

4. Combine and improve ideas: Good ideas may be combined to form a single better good idea, as suggested by the slogan "1+1=3". It is believed to stimulate the building of ideas by a process of association.
I suppose we did meet #1 but not #2 because ideas were struck down, sadly. (OK, most were mine.) We did kind of have #3 though they were not really that off-beat.

And now it is my job to consolidate the ideas. Though, isn't that part of brainstorming and should be done in the team?


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