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Getting Creative

Alex Christie

11 August 2008

Brain
To come up with new and innovative ideas can be a hard thing to do. A good place to start is to bounce ideas off your peers.

Brainstorming was first recognised as far back as 1939 by Alex Osborn, a founding partner of international advertising agency Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn. His idea was to promote lateral thinking and free association so that creative ideas could surface, by following four rules:

  1. No criticism of ideas
  2. Aim for large quantities of ideas
  3. Build on each other’s ideas
  4. Encourage wild and exaggerated ideas

When running a session it is also beneficial to consider the following:

  • Circulate the problem or issue ahead of the session so that people have some advance thinking time
  • Make sure everyone understands the issue before you ask for ideas
  • Set the above rules, especially the one that there’s no such thing as a bad idea – no criticism or comment
  • Give everyone a few minutes to jot down some ideas before starting
  • Begin by going around the group, giving everyone a chance to voice their ideas (or pass). After a few rounds, open it up to everyone – as and when ideas occur to them
  • Encourage as many ideas as possible. In particular, encourage radical ideas and welcome ‘piggybacking’ or building on earlier ideas
  • Record exactly what is said as it is said
  • Don’t stop until ideas seem to have dried up. Always allow for last-minute ideas – they can be the best
  • Go back and clarify any ideas that are unclear – do this in a neutral way
  • Engage the group in eliminating duplicates and ideas that are irrelevant to the problem or issue (but not those ideas that they disagree with)
  • Don’t analyse the ideas as part of the session – that can ruin it!

Thanks to pm4success for the original source of this article.

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