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Effective Brainstorming
by Duncan Brodie

Brainstorming or mind mapping is one of the most useful tools available to leaders. Through brainstorming a whole load of ideas can be generated in a comparatively short period of time. The effectiveness of any brainstorming session depends on some simple rules. So what are those rules?

Rule 1: Suspend Judgement

The purpose of brainstorming is to generate ideas rather than evaluate and discount ideas. For this to happen, it is essential that those participating in the session avoid making judgements on the ideas generated until the group has run out of ideas.

Rule 2: Free Wheel

Brainstorming is about being creative. Creativity is what unlocks brilliant ideas and produces the spark that gives organisations competitive edge. Key to unlocking these brilliant ideas is creating an environment, where ideas, no matter how wild or off the wall are welcomed and encouraged.

Rule 3: Focus on Quantity

Your brainstorming session should be all about producing a large volume of ideas. When you focus on quantity you energise and more and more gets created.

As an example, I attended a workshop recently where participants were asked to come up with as many ideas as they could for uses for a coffee mug. We only had a matter of minutes to do this but despite this 48 ideas were generated. The reason for this is that everyone was just focusing on generating as much as they could without thinking about whether they were good or bad.

Rule 4: Build and Improve

Another important aspect of effective brainstorming is to look at ways of building on the ideas of someone else. For example participant A says something that sparks an idea from B and C and so on.

You may be asking yourself how this can be utilised in organisations. Some potential areas where you could use brainstorming include:

* Generate a new product name

* Generate ideas for an article that you are writing like this one

* To come up with a new company slogan

* To carry out a SWOT analysis

* To problem solve

* To generate options for decision making

So if you want to generate more ideas in a shorter time, start brainstorming.

Duncan Brodie helps managers, leaders and organisations to achieve their true potential. Sign up for his free monthly newsletter at

Duncan Brodie may be contacted at


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