When it comes to brainstorming, the benefit of being an international student or even a domestic one among a diverse community produces the best outcomes. You need to know the most effective brainstorming techniques to work on your group projects and assignments. But before listing these techniques, you need to know the exact definition of brainstorming.
What is Brainstorming?
It’s a group activity where you and your classmates discuss a specific issue and come up with various solutions or several approaches to tackle a specific topic or conduct research. This creative process allows you all to spontaneously suggest ideas and vet them later on. Your teamwork and creative thinking skills rally hugely during these brainstorming sessions and remember that one hand cannot clap on its own.
So, when searching for innovative ideas, try any of the following brainstorming techniques to let the creative juices flow.
1. Try Mind Mapping
This analytic brainstorming technique acts as a visual map so that the group could look at the whole picture. It is literally connecting and creating relationships between ideas to form a comprehensive framework of the steps and the challenges your project could face.
To mind-map, you need to write down your goals, steps and challenges and ask each participant to think about related issues. Add layers to your map upon each suggestion and visualize the overall process of your project. You can use keywords to summarize each idea and colour your map sections in different colours. Upon completion, assign coloured sections to different people and move on with your project. Also, you can try mind-mapping software like MindMeister if you prefer going digital.
2. Go for Reverse Brainstorming
What’s reverse brainstorming? Ordinary brainstorming focuses on solving problems, but reverse brainstorming focuses on the cause of problems. A reverse brainstorming session is usually fully of negative questions being asked so you as a group can see where problems might come from. In other words, you create a problem, then solve it.
3. Practice Gap Filling
This idea generation technique works better on a smaller scale. If you're working on a marketing project, you can use gap filling to enhance the users’ journey. Identify the starting point and the goal point and start filling the steps in between to find the missing parts. You can fill these gaps by answers or questions that need to be answered. You can also, for example, brainstorm the possible users’ journeys that need to be considered.
4. Do FreeWriting
While it is not exactly a group brainstorming technique, freewriting works best if you wish to brainstorm an essay. It’s more effective if each member gets assigned a part of to read about and then you all get 10 minutes of non-stop writing, each on their part. Don’t stop to edit or fix mistakes, just let it out. Group your writings together and start editing and summarising.
5. Play Word-Association
Yes, play! It’s a game where members start saying random words in turns. These words are not necessarily related to the project. When done, each member tries to relate these words to the project at hand. You’ll be surprised how chocolates could be related to global warming!
What to Avoid During a Brainstorming Session?
- Criticizing other people's ideas. Instead, build on one another's ideas.
- Over creativity. Instead, set goals to the session before starting so you know when to stop.
- Being driven away from your path. Instead, make sure that all the discussions and ideas approach the same goal. If not, write the extra ideas down for further inspection in another session.
- Using one approach to lead the session. Instead, use pen and paper, draw, go for brainwriting and brain-netting if needed.