Brainstorming

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Information about Brainstorming

Published on February 23, 2008

Author: chrisbernard

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Brainstorming. A great overview of techniques and how to run your very own brainstorming workshop.

Brainstorming Concepts and Planning Chris Bernard, User Experience Evangelist, Microsoft This presentation is a collection of techniques I use for brainstorming sessions. Brainstorming is often misunderstood or used ineffectively. Hopefully you’ll find some of these concepts helpful. The are techniques I been taught at the Institute of Design and have refined in my work at IBM and at Microsoft. It’s a great starting point for understanding how brainstorming can work for you. February 2008

Topics for Discussion Our goals Defined Setting the right environment A sampling of methods Where you can learn more Resources Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09

Our goals

Defined

Setting the right environment

A sampling of methods

Where you can learn more

Resources

Our goals for today’s session Define what brainstorming is and why it matters Share some basic techniques Understand when to use it Learn how to prepare ourselves for the activity Enable you to learn more on your own Have a dialog about the concepts as we step through them Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09

Define what brainstorming is and why it matters

Share some basic techniques

Understand when to use it

Learn how to prepare ourselves for the activity

Enable you to learn more on your own

Have a dialog about the concepts as we step through them

So, what is brainstorming? Brainstorming is a social process for generating new thinking around problems and challenges (theories, technology, ideas, services, products). It involves coming up with many, often radical, ideas based on a set of assumptions or constraints that can take many formats. It recognizes the principle that our brains are ‘pattern recognition systems’ and that we sometimes get ‘stuck’ with patterns and think within them versus outside of them. Brainstorming helps us think outside of traditional the patterns we are programmed with to think of new ideas. Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: James Manktelow, Edward de Bono

Brainstorming is a social process for generating new thinking around problems and challenges (theories, technology, ideas, services, products).

It involves coming up with many, often radical, ideas based on a set of assumptions or constraints that can take many formats.

It recognizes the principle that our brains are ‘pattern recognition systems’ and that we sometimes get ‘stuck’ with patterns and think within them versus outside of them.

Brainstorming helps us think outside of traditional the patterns we are programmed with to think of new ideas.

Programmed thinking versus lateral thinking Another way to think of brainstorming is to understand what it’s not and how it differs from something we do often in our day to day jobs— programmed thinking. Programmed thinking is using a structured or logical framework to create a product, system or service. GS Method, general project management, information design, and quantitative and morphological analysis all represent programmed thinking. Lateral thinking is about jumping outside of traditional patterns that we use to solve problems. Brainstorming is different from the structural process that we often use on projects, but both methods have a time and place in our toolkit when used correctly. Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: James Manktelow, Edward de Bono

Another way to think of brainstorming is to understand what it’s not and how it differs from something we do often in our day to day jobs— programmed thinking.

Programmed thinking is using a structured or logical framework to create a product, system or service. GS Method, general project management, information design, and quantitative and morphological analysis all represent programmed thinking.

Lateral thinking is about jumping outside of traditional patterns that we use to solve problems.

Brainstorming is different from the structural process that we often use on projects, but both methods have a time and place in our toolkit when used correctly.

Where programmed thinking works In the analysis or research stage of a project In the detailed design of a product, service or system that has been identified Root cause analysis Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: James Manktelow

In the analysis or research stage of a project

In the detailed design of a product, service or system that has been identified

Root cause analysis

Where Lateral thinking works In improving an existing concept Generating radical ideas Making creative leaps What are some areas in your company where you can use lateral thinking? Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: James Manktelow

In improving an existing concept

Generating radical ideas

Making creative leaps

What are some areas in your company where you can use lateral thinking?

Why should I care? Lateral thinking leads to breakthrough discoveries and innovation that can’t be derived from solving the same problem the same way, it’s the difference between developing incremental innovations versus breakthrough innovations. Breakthrough innovations, and our competency in practicing techniques that can provide them enhances our ability to provide value to customers. Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: James Manktelow

Lateral thinking leads to breakthrough discoveries and innovation that can’t be derived from solving the same problem the same way, it’s the difference between developing incremental innovations versus breakthrough innovations.

Breakthrough innovations, and our competency in practicing techniques that can provide them enhances our ability to provide value to customers.

The first step: Setting the right environment All successful brainstorming activities hinge on team effectiveness In our culture team effectiveness typically follows a model of: Results : What are we trying to accomplish Action : Who, what, when How : Plans and strategies Possibility : Stating what is possible Relationship : Shared and aligned commitments Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: Doblin

All successful brainstorming activities hinge on team effectiveness

In our culture team effectiveness typically follows a model of:

Results : What are we trying to accomplish

Action : Who, what, when

How : Plans and strategies

Possibility : Stating what is possible

Relationship : Shared and aligned commitments

But that model, in that order, doesn’t work for us Teams rarely get a chance to focus on the possibility and relationship domains unless this model is reversed. Getting a team aligned and comfortable around the domains of relationship and possibility is critical for successful brainstorming. Without alignment, teams can’t make the emotional investment that’s required to solve the problem—there’s no skin in the game. Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: Doblin

Teams rarely get a chance to focus on the possibility and relationship domains unless this model is reversed.

Getting a team aligned and comfortable around the domains of relationship and possibility is critical for successful brainstorming.

Without alignment, teams can’t make the emotional investment that’s required to solve the problem—there’s no skin in the game.

We need to ensure that the following occurs Relationship Avoiding background conversations (or sharing them with everyone) Listening Leave personal biases behind Granting trust Being responsible Recognizing who people are ‘being’ when expressing ideas Possibility It’s about allowing dialog and not debates. Letting all team members know their voice counts. Making inspiring commitments without evidence that we know they can be accomplished. Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: Doblin

Relationship

Avoiding background conversations (or sharing them with everyone)

Listening

Leave personal biases behind

Granting trust

Being responsible

Recognizing who people are ‘being’ when expressing ideas

Possibility

It’s about allowing dialog and not debates.

Letting all team members know their voice counts.

Making inspiring commitments without evidence that we know they can be accomplished.

Preparing yourself and your team: Location A location should be comfortable and isolated from distractions. You’ll need: At least an hour, probably two Paper Sharpies Post It Notes Tape White board or dry erase boards Sugar and caffeine never hurts Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: Scott Berkun

A location should be comfortable and isolated from distractions. You’ll need:

At least an hour, probably two

Paper

Sharpies

Post It Notes

Tape

White board or dry erase boards

Sugar and caffeine never hurts

Preparing yourself and your team: Purpose Good brainstorming sessions are not random in planning Prep your team with a series of questions or problems that your trying to solve (remember, we’re not talking results). Provide supporting information in advance that the team can review (prepare this data, focused brevity is better than data overload that nobody has time to look at). Focus on contextual research, primary and secondary research. For short or last minute sessions consider giving an overview of this data as part of your session. Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: Scott Berkun

Good brainstorming sessions are not random in planning

Prep your team with a series of questions or problems that your trying to solve (remember, we’re not talking results).

Provide supporting information in advance that the team can review (prepare this data, focused brevity is better than data overload that nobody has time to look at).

Focus on contextual research, primary and secondary research.

For short or last minute sessions consider giving an overview of this data as part of your session.

Communication with your team: Results Know what you’re going to want to do with this data after you’ve gathered it. Tell your team what’s going to happen with the data generated (nobody likes ideas that disappear in a desk drawer). Establish and communicate the process you will use to select and refine ideas. Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: Scott Berkun

Know what you’re going to want to do with this data after you’ve gathered it.

Tell your team what’s going to happen with the data generated (nobody likes ideas that disappear in a desk drawer).

Establish and communicate the process you will use to select and refine ideas.

Working with your team: Facilitate Have a clear leader in the session, a person responsible for: Listening Helping people express ideas Getting ideas on the wall Running the white board Moderating conversations (managing interruptions and giving the floor all people in the session) Maintain the ‘velocity’ of the session It’s okay (even encouraged) for the moderator to generate ideas as well, but their primary task is to effectively facilitate the environment where other participants can accomplish that goal. Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: Scott Berkun

Have a clear leader in the session, a person responsible for:

Listening

Helping people express ideas

Getting ideas on the wall

Running the white board

Moderating conversations (managing interruptions and giving the floor all people in the session)

Maintain the ‘velocity’ of the session

It’s okay (even encouraged) for the moderator to generate ideas as well, but their primary task is to effectively facilitate the environment where other participants can accomplish that goal.

Working with your team: Volume and comfort Brainstorming is a volume business We are going for the number of ideas, not the quality of each idea. Encourage participants to build on the ideas of others and generate as many unique ideas as possible. As a facilitator get these ideas on the wall so everyone can see them. Encouraging the group to build on ideas is a critical task for the facilitator, you’ll often be moving too fast to differentiate between good ideas and bad ideas during this stage. Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: Scott Berkun

Brainstorming is a volume business

We are going for the number of ideas, not the quality of each idea.

Encourage participants to build on the ideas of others and generate as many unique ideas as possible.

As a facilitator get these ideas on the wall so everyone can see them.

Encouraging the group to build on ideas is a critical task for the facilitator, you’ll often be moving too fast to differentiate between good ideas and bad ideas during this stage.

Working with your team: Ground rules People hate feeling silly or stupid in front of their peers, that’s why it’s important to… … Have a code of conduct that everyone on the team understands Postpone (or eliminate criticism) Jointly define a code of conduct before you begin your meeting (i.e. with a focus on how to communicate, document, expand on ideas, etc.) Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: Scott Berkun

People hate feeling silly or stupid in front of their peers, that’s why it’s important to…

… Have a code of conduct that everyone on the team understands

Postpone (or eliminate criticism)

Jointly define a code of conduct before you begin your meeting (i.e. with a focus on how to communicate, document, expand on ideas, etc.)

A simple approach for a three hour Brainstorm (1) Define a series of 4 questions or problems that you’re trying to solve. Send out a briefing package that a participant can review in less than half an hour. (Limit participants to between 8 to 20 people). Get your team together and give them a half hour overview of your set of problems, give them the opportunity to ask questions. Tackle each question as a discrete activity (For large teams consider dividing the room into subgroups that each tackle the problem from a specific perspective). Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09

Define a series of 4 questions or problems that you’re trying to solve.

Send out a briefing package that a participant can review in less than half an hour. (Limit participants to between 8 to 20 people).

Get your team together and give them a half hour overview of your set of problems, give them the opportunity to ask questions.

Tackle each question as a discrete activity (For large teams consider dividing the room into subgroups that each tackle the problem from a specific perspective).

A simple approach for a three hour Brainstorm (2) Spend 10 minutes having your team generate as many concepts as possible by sketching or writing concepts on an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper with a Sharpie. For each concept developed by a group or sub-group, number the concept and put it up on a wall or in a place where everyone can see it. Set goals for your team (a modest goal is 6 to 8 concepts per participant, high performance teams can often generate 10 to 15 concepts per person in 10 minutes). Spend the next 20 minutes having each team explain their ideas to the entire group (Consider having each team pick their 3 to 5 best ideas). Move on to the next question and repeat the process until all questions are complete. By the end of this process you should have been able to generate dozens of ideas and filter them down into a manageable collection of what you feel are the most promising ideas. Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09

Spend 10 minutes having your team generate as many concepts as possible by sketching or writing concepts on an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper with a Sharpie.

For each concept developed by a group or sub-group, number the concept and put it up on a wall or in a place where everyone can see it.

Set goals for your team (a modest goal is 6 to 8 concepts per participant, high performance teams can often generate 10 to 15 concepts per person in 10 minutes).

Spend the next 20 minutes having each team explain their ideas to the entire group (Consider having each team pick their 3 to 5 best ideas).

Move on to the next question and repeat the process until all questions are complete.

By the end of this process you should have been able to generate dozens of ideas and filter them down into a manageable collection of what you feel are the most promising ideas.

Some suggestions before you embark on a brainstorm This process can appear intimidating Try it out internally first Only use with customers that you know and are familiar with or that you can clearly communicate the process to in advance If you are using the team to make decisions as well make sure you employ a shared evaluation tool (i.e. a voting system using post its or sticky dots) Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09

This process can appear intimidating

Try it out internally first

Only use with customers that you know and are familiar with or that you can clearly communicate the process to in advance

If you are using the team to make decisions as well make sure you employ a shared evaluation tool (i.e. a voting system using post its or sticky dots)

Enhance a brainstorming session by introducing the following lateral thinking concepts Reversal SCAMPER Random Input Provocation Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09

Reversal

SCAMPER

Random Input

Provocation

Reversal Ask the opposite of the question or problem you are trying to solve, then apply the results “ How can we make customer service worse?” “ How could we make this kiosk harder to use?” “ What’s the hardest way to build this site?” “ What can we do to not win this business?” Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: James Manktelow

Ask the opposite of the question or problem you are trying to solve, then apply the results

“ How can we make customer service worse?”

“ How could we make this kiosk harder to use?”

“ What’s the hardest way to build this site?”

“ What can we do to not win this business?”

SCAMPER S ubstitute—components, material, people For example, using high tech materials to enhance a product, like stainless steel, carbon fiber C ombine—mix, combine, with other products, services or technology For example, the iPod and iTunes Music Store A dapt—alter, change function, use part of another element For example, the Baygen radio that needs no batteries, due to a hand crank, from cell phones to VOIP phones M odify—increase or reduce in scale, change shape, modify attributes For example, GE Aviation, from “We make jet engines” to “We’re in the propulsion business” P ut to Another Use For example, using baking soda as tooth paste or a deodorizer E liminate—remove elements, make as simple as possible For example, Basecamp versus SharePoint or Quick place, a Bose 3,2,1 versus a typical home theatre R everse—turn inside out or upside down (similar to reversal) Make a PDA into a remote control, a car into an entertainment center Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: James Manktelow and Alex Osborn

S ubstitute—components, material, people

For example, using high tech materials to enhance a product, like stainless steel, carbon fiber

C ombine—mix, combine, with other products, services or technology

For example, the iPod and iTunes Music Store

A dapt—alter, change function, use part of another element

For example, the Baygen radio that needs no batteries, due to a hand crank, from cell phones to VOIP phones

M odify—increase or reduce in scale, change shape, modify attributes

For example, GE Aviation, from “We make jet engines” to “We’re in the propulsion business”

P ut to Another Use

For example, using baking soda as tooth paste or a deodorizer

E liminate—remove elements, make as simple as possible

For example, Basecamp versus SharePoint or Quick place, a Bose 3,2,1 versus a typical home theatre

R everse—turn inside out or upside down (similar to reversal)

Make a PDA into a remote control, a car into an entertainment center

Random Input Making creative leaps by linking one thinking pattern to another For example, using a movie pitch analogy to describe a purchase experience or user group, “It’s Lord of the Rings meets Dumb and Dumber!” Simple methods may involve using a noun for a simple item that can be seen or touched For example, use a noun like ‘garbage’ in terms of designing a product might prompt a discussion on how to create a product more efficiently and in generating less waste during manufacturing. More advanced methods might involve the use of concepts that are randomly applied to your problem (Creative Whack Packs from Roger von Oech) For example, apply a random statement from a Whack Pack like “How is your ego adversely affecting your judgment?” Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: James Manktelow, Roger von Oech

Making creative leaps by linking one thinking pattern to another

For example, using a movie pitch analogy to describe a purchase experience or user group, “It’s Lord of the Rings meets Dumb and Dumber!”

Simple methods may involve using a noun for a simple item that can be seen or touched

For example, use a noun like ‘garbage’ in terms of designing a product might prompt a discussion on how to create a product more efficiently and in generating less waste during manufacturing.

More advanced methods might involve the use of concepts that are randomly applied to your problem (Creative Whack Packs from Roger von Oech)

For example, apply a random statement from a Whack Pack like “How is your ego adversely affecting your judgment?”

Provocation Making a deliberately provocative statement to spur a discussion “ What if we made a cell phone that didn’t have a keypad?” “ What if we decided to sell a $5.00 cup of coffee?” We then use that provocation to suspend judgment and generate ideas, we can: Explore the consequences of the statement Explore the benefits What special circumstances would make it a sensible solution The principles needed to support it and make it work How it would work Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09 Source: James Manktelow, Edward de Bono

Making a deliberately provocative statement to spur a discussion

“ What if we made a cell phone that didn’t have a keypad?”

“ What if we decided to sell a $5.00 cup of coffee?”

We then use that provocation to suspend judgment and generate ideas, we can:

Explore the consequences of the statement

Explore the benefits

What special circumstances would make it a sensible solution

The principles needed to support it and make it work

How it would work

What next? Look for future sessions that help teams: Analyze ideas Synthesize options Visualize concepts Communicate ideas Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09

Look for future sessions that help teams:

Analyze ideas

Synthesize options

Visualize concepts

Communicate ideas

Resources Web Mind Tools , James Manktelow Leading a Brainstorm , Scott Berkun Books Lateral Thinking , Edward De Bono A Whack on the Side of the Head , Roger von Oech Brainstorming Concepts 06/01/09

Web

Mind Tools , James Manktelow

Leading a Brainstorm , Scott Berkun

Books

Lateral Thinking , Edward De Bono

A Whack on the Side of the Head , Roger von Oech

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