We have learned many ways to think more creatively, so now is the time to start generating some great ideas for our efforts. A very popular method of finding ideas is called brainstorming.
Brainstorming is typically done by groups and teams in the corporate world, but it can also be done by individuals as well. If you do it solo, you will need to be a little more focused and disciplined.
How to Brainstorm for Ideas
1) Get Clear on your Goal – Write down your goal and get focused on the information you are brainstorming for. Are you trying to solve a problem? Are you looking to improve an existing process? Or are you seeking a new idea for a book or piece of art?
2) List Out any Requirements or Assumptions – If you are brainstorming for a company project or for a client, then you may have some specific criteria. Is there a budget to work within? Are there location or material limitations? Make sure you get all of them listed.
3) List all the Tools and Resources you have Available – Get clear on things that are available to help meet this objective. Understand how they will affect your final outcome.
4) Establish Brainstorming Rules – You need to state the rules for your brainstorming session prior to getting started. The first rule is that you keep cranking out ideas after the clock starts. Every single thought that pops in your head needs to be written down. The second rule is that every thought gets recorded no matter how dumb or ridiculous it seems.
5) Start the Timer – I recommend you do this in either 2, 3, or 5 minute sessions. Write down every single thought that comes into your head. Do not edit any of them. The idea at this point is to create a large volume of ideas and not quality ideas.
6) Taka a Break – When the timer goes off, take a break and rest your mind for a few minutes.
7) Rinse and Repeat – After your break, you should review the thoughts that you gleaned from your previous session. This will allow you to refocus your objective and then you can reset the timer and have another brainstorming session. Keep repeating until you either run out of information or have sufficient data.
8) Sift through the Thoughts you gathered – I recommend that you wait a day or two before you start reviewing the thoughts gathered from your brainstorming sessions. Most of them will be totally useless and can be deleted. However, about 5% or 10% of them will be something you can work with. And occasionally you will get that one idea that is a game changer.