How to Make Effective Business Decision........Using Brainstorming Technique

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Are you looking for a fast, effective way to promote creative thinking and problem-solving skills in your company or enterprise? The purpose of the research is to help entrepreneurs, young business executives take smart decision using brainstorming technique.

I have used most of these techniques I am sharing, so this is not preaching theory, but to encourage the use of some tested business techniques. 

There are wonderful creative thinking and brainstorming techniques you can use to get everyone thinking outside the box in your organization. Brainstorming allows you to draw out and harness the best ideas from everyone to make the company better.

The keys to quick and effective decision making in the office lie with creative thinking and brainstorming. These powerful business tools are also very easy to introduce and use.  First, the problem or question should be stated clearly and simply so that it is understood by each participant.

Take a little time to discuss the problem at hand, and then write it on a flip chart.  This will dramatically increase your problem-solving skills and the quality of answers generated by the brainstorming session.

Thinking outside of the box starts with developing good habits. 

The aim of the brainstorming session should be to generate the most ideas possible within a specific period of time while thinking outside the box.

An effective session will last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, with 30 minutes being ideal. This approach is so effectively used in the development sector (NGO) and that explains the efficiency and full utilization of resources in the development sector.  In 30 to 1 hour, in the conference room, a session could be concluded and intelligent decision taken.

For decades, people have used brainstorming to generate ideas and to come up with creative solutions to problems. However, you need to use brainstorming correctly for it to be fully effective.

In this article, we'll look at what it is, why it's useful, and how to get the best from it.

What is Brainstorming?

Madison Avenue advertising executive Alex Osborn developed the original approach and published it in his 1953 book, "Applied Imagination." Since then, researchers have made many improvements to his original technique.

Brainstorming combines a relaxed, informal approach to problem-solving with lateral thinking. It encourages people to come up with thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit crazy. Some of these ideas can be crafted into original, creative solutions to a problem, while others can spark even more ideas. This helps to get people unstuck by "jolting" them out of their normal ways of thinking.

Therefore, during brainstorming sessions, people should avoid criticizing or rewarding ideas. You're trying to open up possibilities and break down incorrect assumptions about the problem's limits. Judgment and analysis at this stage stunts idea generation and limit creativity.

Evaluate the ideas at the end of the session – this is the time to explore solutions further, using conventional approaches.

Why Use Brainstorming?

Brainstorming provides a free and open environment that encourages everyone to participate. Quirky ideas are welcomed and built upon, and all participants are encouraged to contribute fully, helping them develop a rich array of creative solutions.

When used during problem-solving, brainstorming brings team members' diverse experience into play. It increases the richness of ideas explored, which means that you can often find better solutions to the problems that you face.

It can also help you get buy-in from team members for the solution chosen – after all, they're likely to be more committed to an approach if they were involved in developing it. What's more, because brainstorming is fun, it helps team members bond, as they solve problems in a positive, rewarding environment.

While brainstorming can be effective, it's important to approach it with an open mind and a spirit of non-judgment. If you don't do this, people "clam up," the number and quality of ideas plummet, and morale can suffer.

Individual Brainstorming

While group brainstorming is often more effective at generating ideas than normal group problem solving, several studies have shown that individual brainstorming produces more – and often better – ideas than group brainstorming.

This can occur because groups aren't always strict in following the rules of brainstorming, and bad behaviours creep in. Mostly, though, this happens because people pay so much attention to other people that they don't generate ideas of their own – or they forget these ideas while they wait for their turn to speak. This is called "blocking."

When you brainstorm on your own, you don't have to worry about other people's egos or opinions, and you can be freer and more creative. For example, you might find that an idea you'd hesitate to bring up in a group develops into something special when you explore it on your own.

However, you may not develop ideas as fully when you're on your own, because you don't have the wider experience of other group members to draw on.

To get the most out of your individual brainstorming session, choose a comfortable place to sit and think. Minimize distractions n so that you can focus on the problem at hand, Individual brainstorming is most effective when you need to solve a simple problem, generate a list of ideas, or focus on a broad issue. Group brainstorming is often more effective for solving complex problems.

Group Brainstorming

Here, you can take advantage of the full experience and creativity of all team members. When one member gets stuck with an idea, another member's creativity and experience can take the idea to the next stage. You can develop ideas in greater depth with group brainstorming than you can with individual brainstorming.

Another advantage of group brainstorming is that it helps everyone feel that they've contributed to the solution, and it reminds people that others have creative ideas to offer. It's also fun, so it can be great for team building!

Where possible, participants should come from a wide range of disciplines. This cross-section of experience can make the session more creative. However, don't make the group too big: as with other types of teamwork, groups of five to seven people are usually most effective.

How to Use the Tool

You often get the best results by combining individual and group brainstorming, and by managing the process according to the "rules" below. By doing this, you can get people to focus on the issue without interruption, you maximize the number of ideas that you can generate, and you get that great feeling of team bonding that comes with a well-run brainstorming session!

To run a group brainstorming session effectively, follow these steps.

Step A: Prepare the Group

First, set up a comfortable meeting environment Add to My Personal Learning Plan for the session. Make sure that the room is well-lit and that you have the tools, resources, and refreshments that you need.

How much information or preparation does your team need in order to brainstorm solutions to your problem? Remember that prep is important, but too much can limit – or even destroy – the freewheeling nature of a brainstorming session.

Consider who will attend the meeting. A room full of like-minded people won't generate as many creative ideas as a diverse group, so try to include people from a wide range of disciplines, and include people who have a variety of different thinking styles.

When everyone is gathered, appoint one person to record the ideas that come from the session. This person shouldn't necessarily be the team manager – it's hard to record and contribute at the same time. Post notes where everyone can see them, such as on flip charts or whiteboards; or use a computer with a data projector.

If people aren't used to working together, consider using an appropriate warm-up exercise, or an icebreaker.

Step B: Present the Problem
Clearly define the problem that you want to solve, and layout any criteria that you must meet. Make it clear that that the meeting's objective is to generate as many ideas as possible.

Give people plenty of quiet time at the start of the session to write down as many of their own ideas as they can. Then, ask them to share their ideas, while giving everyone a fair opportunity to contribute.

Step C: Guide the Discussion
Once everyone has shared their ideas, start a group discussion to develop other people's ideas, and use them to create new ideas. Building on others' ideas is one of the most valuable aspects of group brainstorming.

Encourage everyone to contribute and to develop ideas, including the quietest people, and discourage anyone from criticizing ideas.

As the group facilitator, you should share ideas if you have them, but spend your time and energy supporting your team and guiding the discussion. Stick to one conversation at a time, and refocus the group if people become sidetracked.

Although you're guiding the discussion, remember to let everyone have fun while brainstorming. Welcome creativity, and encourage your team to come up with as many ideas as possible, regardless of whether they're practical or impractical. Use thought experiments such as Provocation Add to My Personal Learning Plan or Random Input Add to My Personal Learning Plan to generate some unexpected ideas.

Don't follow one train of thought for too long. Make sure that you generate a good number of different ideas, and explore individual ideas in detail. If a team member needs to "tune out" to explore an idea alone, allow them the freedom to do this.

Step D: - Brainstorming in Practice:

1) Determine Your Optimal Group Size

The best number of participants for a brainstorming session is between four to seven people.

Any less than four, and you run the risk of not having enough stimulation. Any more than seven, and you may find that there is an insufficient opportunity for everyone to contribute.

2) Appoint A Group Leader

Each brainstorming session requires a group leader. The role of the leader is to keep the ideas as free-flowing as possible.

The group leader is a stimulator of ideas, encouraging each person to speak up with anything he or she has to contribute.

3) Designate A Recorder

There should also be a recorder at each session.  This person will write down every idea as it is generated so that the list can be typed up and circulated at a later time.

4) Focus On The Quantity Of Ideas

The most important rule of brainstorming is to avoid evaluating the ideas during the process.  The focus is on quantity, not quality.

Evaluation and discussion of the ideas will take place at a separate session, away from the original brainstorming.

5) Keep It Positive

The keys to creative thinking and successful brainstorming techniques are positive emotions, laughter, ridiculous ideas and absolutely no criticism of any kind.

The group leader needs to ensure that no one says anything that throws water on the ideas of anyone else and to encourage thinking outside the box.

6) Agree On The Topic At Hand

When I conduct brainstorming sessions, I find that the best way to get going is to first agree on the question or problem, and second, to go around the table one by one. Pretty soon, everyone will start to contribute and the session is off and running.

7) Assemble A Different Group To Evaluate

When it comes to evaluating the ideas in a later session, it can be helpful to bring together an entirely different group of people.  This group will consider the ideas without the ego involvement and emotional attachment of the original group.  As a result, they will be able to assess the ideas far more objectively.

Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills Through Group Brainstorming

The amazing thing about brainstorming is that virtually any group can come up with an incredible number of ideas when stimulated by this method.

You can never tell which ideas are going to provide the breakthrough solution that you need, so aim for quantity. The more ideas you generate, the greater the likelihood that you will have exactly the idea that you need at exactly the right time.

By practising mind-storming and brainstorming techniques on a regular basis, you can unleash a torrent of ideas that will enable you to accomplish your goals faster than you ever believed possible by thinking outside the box.

Today, in the information age, ideas are the most valuable tools of production.  And since your ability to generate innovative, effective, usable ideas is virtually unlimited, your future is unlimited as well.
Brainstorming Session

A typical brainstorming session will require:
1. A facilitator
2. A suitable brainstorming space–light, plenty of space, natural daylight
3. Something to write ideas on, preferably a white-board, flip chart or Brown Paper. 

The responsibilities of the facilitator include:
1. Guiding the session,
2. Encouraging participation
3. Capturing (in writing) the ideas.
4. Brainstorming works best with a varied group of people. Even in areas involving specialists people from outside of the sector or industry can often bring a fresh idea or approach that inspires the thinking of the experts.

Ground Rules for effective brainstorming 

In the classical approach to brainstorming, there are four basic rules. These rules are designed to reduce social inhibitions among groups members, stimulate idea generation, and increase the overall creativity of the group:

Focus on quantity: It is not the quality or practicality that is important – just sheer number of ideas. It is believed that quantity breeds quality. The greater the chance of producing a radical and effective solution.

Withhold criticism: Any judging at this stage inhibits lateral thinking and may inhibit some group members from participation.

Welcome unusual ideas: New perspectives are welcomes and assumptions suspended.  Combine and improve ideas: This also encourages building on the ideas previously generated. In this case “1+1=3”.

Brainstorming Session Proper
The facilitator leads the brainstorming session and ensures that ground rules are followed. The steps in a typical session are:

1. A warm-up session, to expose novice participants to the criticism-free environment. A simple problem is brainstormed

2. The facilitator presents the problem and gives a further explanation if needed

3. The facilitator asks the brainstorming group for their ideas

4. If no ideas are forthcoming, the facilitator suggests a lead to encourage creativity

5. A nominated person (s) capture the ideas in real-time – using the words of the person presenting the idea (to avoid filtering)

6. All participants present their ideas, and the idea collector(s) records them

7. To ensure clarity, participants may elaborate on their ideas

8. When time is up, Everyone takes a break (of at least 15 minutes.

9. The facilitator organizes the ideas based on the topic goal and encourages discussion

10. Ideas are grouped and categorized

11. The whole list is reviewed to ensure that everyone understands the ideas

12. Duplicate ideas and obviously infeasible solutions are removed (or parked for use in another session)

13. The remaining ideas are considered and where possible built upon

14. The group work through the remaining ideas and prioritize possible solutions for implementation

15.The facilitator thanks all participants and gives each a token of appreciation.

How To Put These Brainstorming Techniques Into Action

Now, here are three things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action and immediately improve your problem-solving skills:

First, don’t delay. Bring together three or more people immediately and conduct a brainstorming session. Put the question or problem on a whiteboard or flip chart and go for it!

Second, make it a game to see how many ideas the group can generate within a specific time period. Focus on quantity, not quality. Brainstorming is a group problem-solving technique.  It is effective with a group of people from 4 to 7.  

Some of the ideas may look crazy at first, some will look weird and others could even sound unethical and impossible.  

Third, analyze the ideas later and take action on the good ones. The more ideas that are implemented, the more ideas people will come up with in future sessions.

I hope this article was helpful to you - businessmen and young entrepreneurs!

If it was helpful, please share.


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