In my last post on brainstorming, as a critical thinking technique, we discussed the pre-requirements, basic principles, and the underlying rules.
This is a continuation of the earlier post. It would be worthwhile to read it here, in case you haven’t read that post and somehow landed here directly.
There are various sub-variations of brainstorming. Among the popular & frequently used ones are :
1. Nominal Group Technique
2. Group Passing Technique
3. Team Idea Mapping Method
Let’s have a look at each of these sub-types :
1. Nominal Group Technique: In this type of brainstorming, participants must write and share their ideas anonymously. The facilitator collates the views from all the participants, and the group votes for each idea. The voting method is usually kept simple as a show of hands in favor of a given idea. This process is called distillation.
Once distillation is completed, the top-ranked ideas(ones with maximum votes) are sent back to the group or subgroups for further brainstorming. For example, one group may work on the color required in a product. Another group may work on the size and so forth. Each sub-group needs to come back to the whole group for ranking the listed ideas. In this step, previously dropped suggestions may be brought forward again once the re-evaluation is done.
For seamless execution of this process, the facilitator must be well trained to facilitate this technique. Like any other team exercise, it may take a few practice sessions to train the team before tackling the important ideas.
2. Group passing technique :In this method, all the participants sit together. Each person in a circular group writes down one idea and then passes the piece of paper to the next person, who adds some thoughts. This process continues till everybody gets back the original work of paper. By the time this process is completed, each idea is expected to be elaborated and evaluated.
Another variation of this technique is creating an “idea book” with the names of the participants forming a distribution list. On the first page, the problem is stated. The first person to receive the book lists their ideas and then routes it to the next person on the distribution list. The second person can either add new ideas or add to the opinions of the previous person. This continues until the distribution list is exhausted. A follow-up “read out” meeting is then conducted to discuss the ideas collated in the book. This technique takes longer, but it allows individuals time to think deeply about the problem.
3. Team idea mapping method :Association forms the basis of this method of brainstorming. It improves collaboration and enhances the number of ideas.
The key steps included in the process are :
1. Description of the topic.
2. Individual brainstorming by each participant.
3. Collation of ideas into one large idea map.
4. Common association between the ideas is discovered, while participants share the meanings behind their ideas.
5. Combination of 2 or more ideas may lead to discoveries that are added to the map.
6. Once the activity is done for all the ideas and suggestions, the group can prioritize and act on the ones that get maximum voting.
Depending on the environment you operate in, you may try any of these methods and check the results.
Trust you got the value for time spent in reading it.
Looking forward to your feedback in the comments.
Lalit Hundalani||Peak Performance & Life Transformation Coach|| Best-Selling Author of 2 Books||Mentor
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