Brainstorming is a technique used to quickly generate a quantity of creative or original ideas on or about a process, problem, product, or service.
A brainstorming session begins with a facilitator establishing basic ground rules and a code of conduct. Typical brainstorming rules state that all members have an equal opportunity to participate, there is no criticism or pulling rank, people should think creatively, no idea will be treated as insignificant, and there should be only one conversation at a time. Members need to be active participants, willing to share their ideas, opinions, concerns, issues, and experiences.
Next the team agrees on the topic to be brainstormed and whether to give ideas verbally or written on individual index cards, or any other easily manipulated medium.
Either a structured (round table) or unstructured (free-flowing) approach is selected. Ideas should be generated quickly (5-15 minutes) and are recorded clearly on a flipchart or board.
The process stops when ideas become redundant or infrequent.
Recorded ideas are reviewed for duplication and clarification, and eliminated when necessary. Remaining ideas are then evaluated with an open mind and may be used with the affinity diagram, nominal group technique, or cause-and-effect diagram.