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Idea generation technique.


Brainstorming is one of the most popular techniques for generating new ideas. Your objective for using of this method should be to reduce inhibitions and stimulate creativity in yourself and others. It's typically used in a group setting but it can also used by a single person.

Brainstorming sessions should follow the structure and general rules below to maximize it's effectiveness.

To perform a Brainstorming session:

Step 1:  Define the objective of the session.

Step 2:  Ask participants to do an “individual brainstorming” session before coming to the group brainstorming session.

Step 3:  Include “outsiders” that do not share the same background as the group.

Step 4:  Take some time to focus attention on specific topics, such as identifying:  factors, driving forces, stakeholders, sources of information, and outcomes.

Step 5:  Quantity breeds quality. The assumption here is that more ideas will give you a greater chance of finding the good ones.

Step 6:  Take turns speaking. Everyone needs an opportunity to contribute their ideas.

Step 7:  Never criticize or evaluate an idea during the session.

Step 8:  Welcome divergent thoughts. It doesn’t matter how strange some ideas may seem, something good might come from them.

Step 9:  Encourage people to build on other people’s ideas.

Step 10:  Write down ideas on a white board or with post-it notes. Someone should be taking notes during the session.

Step 11:  After your session, summarize what was accomplished.

Publications icon


Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving, Alex F. Osborn, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953.

The Thinker’s Toolkit, Morgan D. Jones, New York: Three Rivers Press, 1995.

Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis, Richards Heuer, Jr. and Randolph H. Pherson, Washington DC: CQ Press, 2011.