IMPACT Leaflet No. 5a
Number of people: Most effective 5-15
Minimum time: 5-10 minutes
Materials: Flip chart, newsprint, felt-tip pens, tape
Brainstorming is a method used to generate an idea list from a group in a short period of time. It is designed to encourage participation by all members. This method usually produces creative, new ideas useful in solving the problem or issue at hand.
Goal: Produce a quantity of ideas.
- Choose recorder to write ideas generated on newsprint;
- Set time limit or maximum number of items before you begin;
- Present topic clearly. Write on newsprint so all members can see. Give available background information;
- Ask people to offer ideas as rapidly as they can. They may ask for clarification, if the idea is not understood by the group;
Rule: No idea can be judged, discussed or rejected.
- Make sure group members understand that ideas will be evaluated after brainstorming is finished;
- Write down on newsprint all ideas presented. Write word for word if possible;
- Move rapidly from one idea to another;
- To encourage group participation, take only one idea from each person. This is especially important if one or two people are dominating the idea sharing;
- Evaluate ideas, prioritize and return to brainstorming if more ideas are needed; and
- Proceed with the decision-making task.
Comments: Brainstorming with a group releases many ideas in a way that seems to spark other thoughts. The non-judgmental gathering of ideas breaks down barriers among people and avoids blocks such as "We've tried that before ... .. It didn't work," etc.