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Scot Burbacher

on 5 March 2015

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Transcript of Brainstorming:

What is it?
Mental Blocks
Beating Mental Blocks:
Shift from Left to Right

The One-Two Punch:
What's the Big Idea?!
"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas
as in escaping from old ones."
- John Maynard Keynes,
revolutionary British economist
How creative are you
and your team?
Creativity is Key
to creative thinking & problem solving
Psychological Blocks
Learned Helplessness
Functional Fixation
"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think of funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.'"
"So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'"
- Steve Jobs, Founder, Apple Computer Inc.
You Can Do It!!!
Find it
Own it!!!
Do it
Learn it
Gain it
It's all
in your head!
Psychological Blocks
Failure of vision/imagination
Ideas rejected due to "yuck" factor
"No way we could ever do it bigger/faster/better/etc..."
"There is no reason
anyone would want
a computer in their home."
- Popular Mechanics, 1949
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
- Ken Olson, founder,
Digital Equipment Corp.,
"[Television] won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
- Darryl Zanuck, movie producer,
20th Century Fox,
"There will never be a bigger plane built."
- Boeing engineer,
"If I had thought about it,
I wouldn't have done the experiment.
The literature was full of examples that said
you can't do this."
- Spencer Silver, Senior Chemist,
3M Central Research Lab,
Narrow Focus
Great for statistics and analysis,
lousy for creative thinking.
Big Picture
Your trusted sidekick
for brainstorming!
Can help encourage creative thinking and generate enthusiasm.
The Goal
Success Factors
Group Size & Composition
Just generate ideas!
Well-defined, clearly stated topic.
No trouble scheduling
No drama
Equitable distribution of work
Able to reach consensus
Able to generate new and creative ideas
Clues for determining the "right" group size:
Group composition considerations:
Similarity/diversity of backgrounds
Range of technical skills/subject knowledge
Background information needed to make central idea clear?
First, hit 'em with the RIGHT to generate lots of ideas...
...then finish 'em off with the LEFT to evaluate
and make decisions.
Silent Brainstorming
Collect the papers and post them for all to see.
More potential solutions
Silent Brainstorming: Procedure
Let's Try It!
Come up with some ideas about how your morning routine could be made better than it currently is.
Ideas can be realistic (better coffee)
or not-so-realistic (zero traffic on the roads).
Impact Control Matrix
Can be applied to results of Silent Brainstorming to determine biggest bang for the buck.
Impact Control Matrix: Procedure
Uses four-quadrant grid.
Write potential solutions on Post-Its.
Be as specific as possible with solution ideas.
Don't worry about any limiting factors.
Ask for clarifications if needed.
Group duplicated ideas.
Group reaches consensus on where the idea falls on the matrix.
Let's Try It!
Using the results of our Silent Brainstorming activity, let's try ranking some ideas on an Impact Control Matrix.
Nominal Group Technique
Great to use if the topic is sensitive or if there may be resistance in the group.
Nominal Group Technique: Two Phases
Phase One:
Same as Silent Brainstorming.
Phase Two:
Review the ideas and ask for clarifications.
Number each idea sequentially, starting from the top.
Have the participants rank their top five.
Determine top ranked ideas.
Random Word Brainstorming
Promotes "outside the box" thinking and creativity.
Random Word: Procedure
Kick it up a notch: use a random sentence.
State the problem or situation.
Given a random word, list some ideas it brings to mind.
Consider how each idea relates to the situation.
View the results.
Mind Mapping
Simple technique for drawing information in diagrams, instead of writing it in sentences.
Corresponds more closely to the way your right brain works (versus a sequential list).
Made up of words, pictures, or short sentences.
Starts with a central idea in the middle, and branches out from there.
Lines connect related ideas.
Mind Mapping: Procedure
Pick a central topic that is simple and broad.
Place the topic in the center of the page.
Start writing whatever comes to mind; keep it to as few words as possible.
Repeat branching until you run out of ideas.
Study the connections and try to relate them.
Embrace your tangents, chase your squirrels.
Let's Try It!
Let's take a few minutes to generate a mind map about:
Going to a baseball game.
Follow-up question:
What do you think would have happened if the topic were simply 'baseball'? Would we have come up with different ideas?
Carousel Brainstorming
Participants rotate around the room in small groups, stopping at various stations for a designated amount of time
While at each station, members will activate their prior knowledge through conversations with peers, providing scaffolding for new information.
Physical activity can promote alpha pattern brain waves which keep your left brain subdued.
Generate X number of questions for your topic and write each question on a separate piece of poster board or chart paper. (Note: The number of questions should equal the number of groups.)
Post questions sheets around your classroom.
Divide team into groups of 5 or less.
Direct each group to stand in front of a question station. Give each group a colored marker for writing their ideas at the question stations (use a different color for each group).
Carousel Brainstorming: Procedure
Carousel Brainstorming: Procedure
Inform groups that they will have 2-3 minutes to brainstorm and write ideas at each question station.
When time is called, groups will rotate to the next station in clockwise order.
Using a stopwatch or other timer, begin the group rotation. Continue until each group reaches their last question station.
Before leaving the final question station, have each group select the top 3 ideas from their station to share with the everyone.
Pugh Matrix
Invented by Stuart Pugh at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.
Designed as an approach for evaluating multiple options against each other, relative to a baseline option.
Several concepts are evaluated according to their strengths and weaknesses against a reference concept called the datum (base concept).
Generally used after collecting the Voice of the Customer.
Does not require a great amount of quantitative data.
Pugh Matrix: Benefits
Allows you to:
Compare different concepts
Create strong alternative concepts from weaker concepts
Arrive at an optimum concept that may be a hybrid or variant of the best of other concepts.
Pugh Matrix: Procedure
List options.
List criteria that is important to customers or management.
Create your matrix (Options across the top row, criteria along the left column).
Rate options against criteria in relation to the baseline.
+ for better, - for worse, 0 for same.
Add totals on bottom row.
Pugh Matrix Example: Mowing your Lawn
Rating against Gas Mower

Let's Try It!
Let's generate a Pugh Matrix on...

Affinity Diagram
Used to organize large groups of information into meaningful categories and natural relationships (especially written or verbal comments).
Helps break old patterns of thought, reveal new patterns, and generate more creative ways of thinking.
Group the team ideas or your customer's valid requirements and show the relationships between items and groups.
Affinity Diagram: When to Use
You need some way to break out of old and traditional ways of thinking.
Affinity Diagram: What it Looks Like
Affinity Diagram: Procedure
Generate and record ideas using Post-it notes
Involve the group in clustering the notes into related groupings. Have everyone stand and do this silently.
Be prepared for some "loner" ideas; avoid forcing them into a group.
Some notes may need to be duplicated for different groupings.
Choose a word or phrase that captures the intent of each group and place it at the top as a header card.
Affinity Diagram: Procedure
You should now:
Have a working knowledge of different brainstorming techniques.
"Daring ideas are like
chessmen moved forward;
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
prolific German writer and politician
but they may start
a winning game.
they may be beaten,

Avoids "analysis paralysis" by delaying/prohibiting the evaluation of the ideas generated.
Technique used to quickly generate a large number of ideas about a specific problem or topic.
Generally used in a group setting.
Have fun and be creative!
Communicate importance of reserving judgment.
Issues or Solutions: Know your scope and keep it on track.
Keep ideas clear.
Appropriate group size.
Ground rules for the session.
More buy-in to accepted solution(s)
Promotes entire group participation
Reduces individual pressure
After you've generated lots of ideas, you can move into evaluation mode.
Have participants write ideas individually on Post-It notes or small slips of paper (one idea per paper).
Review all ideas, clarify any questions, eliminate duplicates.
When faced with multiple improvement ideas, can be used to determine solutions that are within the group's control and would have the most impact.
Used for organizing and evaluating ideas.
A structured method for working towards consensus.
Another option for taking Silent Brainstorming one step further.
Can lead to innovative solutions.
Can help combat idea shortages or analysis paralysis.
Presents unusual combinations of words and ideas.
When the issues seem too large and complex to grasp.
You need to quickly uncover your customer's requirements.
Facts or thoughts are chaotic.
If needed, review the ideas and ask for clarifications.
State the issue to be examined in broad terms
Begin sticking them on a wall or large sheet of easel paper where everyone can see them.
Silent Brainstorming
Be familiar with the roadblocks that can keep your team from being creative.
Know how to use tools such as the Pugh Matrix, Impact Control Matrix, and Affinity Diagram
Full transcript