Here is a handy tool for generating random words. Click here.
This set of ideas is taken from mindtools.com
Step 1: Prepare the Group
First, set up a comfortable meeting environment for the session. Make sure that the room is well-lit and that you have the tools, resources, and refreshments that you need.
How much information or preparation does your team need in order to brainstorm solutions to your problem? Remember that prep is important, but too much can limit – or even destroy – the freewheeling nature of a brainstorming session.
Consider who will attend the meeting. A room full of like-minded people won’t generate as many creative ideas as a diverse group, so try to include people from a wide range of disciplines, and include people who have a variety of different thinking styles.
When everyone is gathered, appoint one person to record the ideas that come from the session. This person shouldn’t necessarily be the team manager – it’s hard to record and contribute at the same time. Post notes where everyone can see them, such as on flip charts or whiteboards; or use a computer with a data projector.
If people aren’t used to working together, consider using an appropriate warm-up exercise, or an icebreaker.
Step 2: Present the Problem
Clearly define the problem that you want to solve, and lay out any criteria that you must meet. Make it clear that that the meeting’s objective is to generate as many ideas as possible.
Give people plenty of quiet time at the start of the session to write down as many of their own ideas as they can. Then, ask them to share their ideas, while giving everyone a fair opportunity to contribute.
Step 3: Guide the Discussion
Once everyone has shared their ideas, start a group discussion to develop other people’s ideas, and use them to create new ideas. Building on others’ ideas is one of the most valuable aspects of group brainstorming.
Encourage everyone to contribute and to develop ideas, including the quietest people, and discourage anyone from criticizing ideas.
As the group facilitator, you should share ideas if you have them, but spend your time and energy supporting your team and guiding the discussion. Stick to one conversation at a time, and refocus the group if people become sidetracked.
Although you’re guiding the discussion, remember to let everyone have fun while brainstorming. Welcome creativity, and encourage your team to come up with as many ideas as possible, regardless of whether they’re practical or impractical. Use thought experiments such as Provocation or Random Input to generate some unexpected ideas.
Don’t follow one train of thought for too long. Make sure that you generate a good number of different ideas, and explore individual ideas in detail. If a team member needs to “tune out” to explore an idea alone, allow them the freedom to do this.
Also, if the brainstorming session is lengthy, take plenty of breaks so that people can continue to concentrate.
Taking Your Brainstorming Further
If you’re not getting enough good quality ideas, try using the approaches below to increase the number of ideas that you generate:
- The Stepladder Technique – This improves the contribution of quieter group members by introducing one person at a time.
- Brainwriting – This is a written approach that you can use to encourage all individuals to generate and develop ideas.
- Brain-netting – An electronic method of brainstorming, this uses a document stored on a central server, or on a Cloud-based system.
- Crawford’s Slip Writing Approach – You can use this approach to get plenty of ideas from all participants, and to get a view of each idea’s popularity.
These techniques help you in specific brainstorming situations:
- Reverse Brainstorming – This is used to improve a product or service.
- Starbursting – Starbursting helps you develop questions that you need to ask to evaluate a proposal.
- Charette Procedure – This helps you brainstorm with large groups of people. (Conventional brainstorming becomes increasingly ineffective when more than 10 or 12 people are involved.)
- Round-Robin Brainstorming – You can use this approach to get people to contribute ideas without being influenced by others.
- Rolestorming – This technique encourages group members to take on other people’s identities while brainstorming, thereby reducing their inhibitions.