When we encounter problems in our lives particularly in our workplace and want to solve it, brainstorming is usually the first activity that comes to our minds. Although most people immediately jump into impulsive solutions effectively making them loose time and money, nothing beats a well-planned, well thought-out idea in solving the problem.
Brainstorming provides the basic foundation for problem solving through creative idea generation. It is a systematic approach first developed by advertising executive Alex Osborn and published in his book Applied Imagination. Brainstorming combines an individual or group approach to problem solving by encouraging people to formulate ideas in a collaborative manner. Ideas come in vast quantities and may sometimes be a bit eccentric or out of place. Most of these ideas form the basis of creative and original solutions to a certain problem, although initial ideas are circulated to create other inventive ideas as well.
Conduct of a good brainstorming should go with proper judgment and analysis. No bias is allowed as it spurns negativity, preventing the formulation of creative solutions. It promotes a healthy environment that motivates participants to provide more ideas as opposed to the conventional way of problem solving where structured ideas lead to fewer, uneventful solutions. Though it may seem a bit crazy, these particular suggestions are welcomed and openly discussed by all participants in an effort to contribute a workable solution.
In a group brainstorming, a collaboration of people can explore a wide variety of problems and solutions with a positive and rewarding approach. The team takes advantage of the vast experience and creative thinking of other every group mate. Team building exercise through brainstorming can help promote rapport and bonding among teammates. This, coupled with fun and professionalism, can motivate the whole team to commit to an objective and find a better solution. Unfortunately, the absence of these qualities in a brainstorming environment might cause members to create ideas that are not of central importance and loose objective focus. Therefore, It is absolutely important to always keep the morale high within the group to maintain the richness of ideas generated.
While focus groups work on more idea generation, other pre-finalized ideas can be recycled and subjected to more brainstorming. This process can give previously dropped ideas a chance to be re-circulated and integrated into existing ideas to improve it further. This circular process can sometimes bring out more adequate solutions because each group members has poured out more elaborate suggestions to it.
Group brainstorming can be a good approach in formulating a solution as individual members augment each other’s deficiency in idea generation. The only drawback to this approach is the ability of individual members to maintain their own unique set of ideas that could have contributed to the appropriate solution. This problem is addressed by conducting individual brainstorming. It is quite easy for a group to come up with a quantity of ideas to solve problems but they lack the better quality compared to the ideas that are generated individually.
Individual brainstorming is governed by only one set of rules and opinions, which gives a wider avenue for more creative and superior idea generation. An individual is free to express his own opinion without thought of how it can affect other people. There is more creativity generated when an idea is explored individually. However, an individual might find it harder or longer to develop ideas as he is limited by contribution of experience and augmentation of work mostly enjoyed in a group brainstorming.