What is Brainstorming ?
Is it really useful for entreprises ?
How to make it a positive, fun and efficient process ?
Brainstorming is a collaborative method of gathering an important amount of ideas in a project / defined topic. This allows to achieve more innovative results during the product development process, or when a firm decides to make drastic changes on a product / service.
We know that the brainstorming is a crucial step of the Design Thinking and that it insures a smooth improvement during projects. Nonetheless, many companies seem to believe that this process is boring and without real impact. The reason for that ? The inefficient manner of processing during brainstorming sessions.
In this article, the aim is to help you better understand the basics of the brainstorming, to improve your competences regarding your creative and innovative mind (and why not build up on you colleagues relationship).
Before going further, its is important to know what the objective of this step of the ideation process is, and when to you use it. First of all, when doing a brainstorming, we do not seek to create the finished version of a product/service, instead we want to stimulate the creativity in all the participants, in order to find new horizons. To that end, it is necessary to work in groups of 4 to 6 people, in order to create a good dynamism and allow each and everyone to express themselves. Furthermore, although those sessions can be done at any time of a project development, it is usually organised during the Ideation stage of the Design Thinking.
To be impactful, here are some primordial points to keep in mind :
- Targert quantity, not quality.
- Use your imagination, do not be afraid of proposing crazy ideas.
- Avoid judging others and their propositions.
- Interact and collaborate freely on others’ ideas.
- Keep focus on the topic.
Types of Brainstorming
There is an unlimited number ot techniques to do a brainstorming, yet here we will show you 2 of them. Naturally, the most appropriate method for you depends on your company’s culture and the dynamism in your team. The 2 different approaches we are presenting you are called “The Reverse Brainstorming” and “The BrainShaping”.
The Reverse Brainstorming :
To startup with, let’s analyse the reverse brainstorming. In its standardised version, the brainstorming push people to resolve problems. In the contrary, in this approach the goal is to bring out all the negative aspects of the project, its weaknesses and its defaults. In other words, we seek here the negative version of a problem – “how can we insure the failure of our project, or how can we garantee that it won’t succeed ?”. After that, you will need to conceive solutions by transforming each of those negative ideas into positive ones.
The BrainShaping :
Oppositely to the reverse brainstorming, this method is much more “practical”. Firstly, gather material that is handy and with which you can easily create objects (eg. : paper, carton, wires, glu, wood, modeling paste and so on). Next, make some groups of 3 (that would be an ideal number) and start building your ideas in 3D on the chosen theme. This process, could be more adapted for people who need to touch what they are working on and need visuals.
Finally, remember that when you participate in a brainshaping session, 3 points are very important (those can also be relevant for other variants of the brainstorming).
- This method can sometimes stop from developing creative aptitudes.
- Novelty is not enough anymore to add value to your consumer’s needs.
- If not use correctly, this technique is not efficient. Be sure that your session is motivating, collaborative (by including participants from various backgrounds) and most of all, create and environment encouraging the development of ideas.
Now that you understand what the brainstorming is, all the ideas are in your hands !