Brainstorming Done Right!

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hi I'm ed Muzio CEO of harmonics I'm

going to tell you about brainstorming

done right we hear the word

brainstorming used around the workplace

a lot and usually now we just use it to

mean everyone share your idea but

everyone can share their ideas by email

the idea of real brainstorming is we

have a group of people like this group

here the whole is greater than the sum

of the parts

in other words they can do more together

than they could do alone the way

brainstorming is supposed to work is

that we get this group together this

person shares an idea he has maybe with

these people

maybe she hears that idea gives her

another idea gives this person another

idea they all start talking back and

forth about their different ideas and

eventually this person hears all that

and it inspires this person to have an

idea that nobody else had in a sense

it's this person's idea but in a sense

this great idea came from everything

that came before it

that's real brainstorming now if you

want to do your brainstorming right and

get ideas you wouldn't otherwise get

there are some simple do's and dont's

that you need to follow the first do

four good brainstorming is you do want

to capture everything and I mean

everything you want to start a flipchart

or maybe a whiteboard and you want to

write down everything anyone says no

matter how crazy it sounds you may be

inclined to skip some things but you

don't want to do that you want to get

everything on the board what you don't

want to do is you don't want to evaluate

anything you don't want to say that'll

never work that's too expensive and not

write it down this may not be a useful

idea but it may inspire the next useful

idea so you want it up now the next

thing you want to do in good

brainstorming is you want to encourage

participation it's perfectly valid to

turn to someone and say Frank I haven't

heard from you in a while do you have

any new ideas maybe Frank has something

he's been thinking about on the other

hand what you don't want to do is you

never want to force participation or

participation sequence if you're just

going to make everyone go around the

table and say what they think you've

lost the organic nature of the process

and you're back to using email don't

force it the third thing you want to do

in proper brainstorming is you want to

allow people to ask clarifying questions

let's say for example that you said your

idea was to change the business process

I might ask you do you mean the counting


process or do you mean the customer

service business process that's a

clarifying question I'm trying to

understand what your idea really is what

we never want to do and we never want to

allow anyone to ask judging questions it

wouldn't be appropriate for me to say to

you how could you possibly think that

would work

that's a judging question it's really a

secret way of just evaluating and it's

too soon in the process for evaluating

now once you've gotten through that part

of the process once you've got your full

list and everyone's best ideas are out

then you can start to evaluate actually

you're going to do three things first

you're going to categorize you're going

to find like items and you're going to

group them together so you can reduce

the number of things you have to study

then you're going to reduce you're going

to go through and find the things that

just won't work you know they're not

feasible and you're going to take them

off the list and then finally you're

going to analyze you're going to look at

what's left figure out which are the

best ideas and bring them forward

hopefully for implementation so the next

time you have a group of people and you

need a great idea do your brainstorming

right capture everything everyone says

encourage participation and make sure

you allow clarifying questions but don't

evaluate anything too soon in the

process don't force people to

participate or their order and don't ask

judging questions once you've got your

list together then you can categorize

reduce and analyze what you have and

hopefully what you'll find there will

include your next great idea