Brainstorming combines a relaxed, informal approach to problem solving with lateral thinking. It encourages people to come up with thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit crazy. Some of these ideas can be crafted into original, creative solutions to a problem, while others can spark even more ideas. This helps to get people unstuck by “jolting” them out of their normal ways of thinking. This tool can be an extremely powerful and effective tool in the Six Sigma toolbox. It allows things to be stirred up and the layers of complex issues peeled back to expose the truths!
4 Keys to Effective Brainstorming
The ideal situation when things just click is exactly the place brainstorming gets you to. It allows ideas and situations to come together and create the perfect storm for creativity. Some industries are much better at the practice than others. Businesses that are more of a creative environment tend to understand and use the concept more comfortably. Businesses who are more technical ‘rules followers’ are less likely to be comfortable with a brainstorm session. The fact is, using a brainstorm session can be equally successful in any business environment, regardless of the creative structure. To take advantage of this powerful tool, you simply need to set some basic ground rules. The importance of these rules are more focused on respect for others vs. following secured rules. Here are the four basic rules to establish a proper brainstorm:
- No Such Thing As A Dumb Idea – All cards are on the table. The group must be able to feel comfortable that their ideas are plausible. Open yourself up to the possibilities.
- No Criticism – It’s not a debate about the technical merits. It is about what is possible!
- Build on Other’s Ideas – When an idea is put on the table, open your mind and imagine how to build on that. Avoid the technical and see how you can layer a path for improvement.
- Avoid Quality vs. Quantity – This presents a challenge for a more structured business. The tool isn’t about the technical aspects, but about the idea. Go for the quantity every time to be successful. The more ideas that are on the table, the more you will be open to possibilities.
The brainstorm tool keeps the wheels of collaboration turning. It can unfreeze the curiosity of many and encourage their ideas to flow. Keep the rules of the tool to basic respect and you will find a goldmine that will flow into your business! There is no such thing as a bad idea.