Creativity and innovation are the lifeblood of an organization. New ideas can lead to programs that are superior to those that are already going on or planned in the organization. By using brainstorming, a powerful decision making tool, it can effectively generating radical ideas, and help people break out their thinking patterns into new ways of looking at things. The purpose of a brainstorming session is to work as a group to define a problem, and find, through a team member's intervention, the best group decision for a plan of action to solve it. (Bartle, 2003, p 1) We need to understand that we are aiming the success for the team, not for an individual. While utilizing this approach to decision making it is helpful to create some ground rules in order to maximize efficiency.
Some ground rules that we can use as following: . Criticism of ideas isn't allowed... All ideas, no matter how wild, are encouraged... The more ideas, the better... Every participant should try to build on or combine the ideas of others. (Bradbury, 2004, p 1) Brainstorming involves quickly recording a broad list of ideas, which can then be expanded and evaluated.
During a brainstorming session, ideas should be generated as quickly as possible in order to develop the most creative and varied list of alternatives. Participants in the brainstorming process should come from as wide a range of disciplines as possible. This brings a broad range of experience to the session and helps to make it more creative. There are several different brainstorming processes, such as round robin, nominal technique, and Post-It Note brainstorming (DeJanasz, Dowd, and Schneider, 2001, p 398). I am working in AR department in a large employment service Company.
My manager often use round robin brainstorming process to collect team members' ideas during meetings. In the last meeting, the topic we discussed was how to save time and space for the back-up copies. Since we are required to keep at lease two copies for every transaction, plus our company is expanding, it became harder and harder to keep up with the filing, storing and research with our current system. After the topic was announced, we think about the question for a few moments, and then one by one, we give some ideas or suggestions. Ideas such as, request additional storage room, buy a scanner, hire some people, and upload files into Internet, etc.
After all the ideas have been recorded, we discussed some of the possible solutions and try to combine ideas as much as possible. Finally we decided to request additional storage place for right now, and send in request to MIS to set up a program which we can upload files thru internet. It is important to let people have fun brainstorming. Encourage team member to come up with as many as ideas as possible.
During the brainstorming process, the team leader should monitor session closely, do not let criticism and judgment cramp creativity. Some idea may appear strange, but it can be valuable if you take the idea further. A conflict of ideas on any aspect can often be productive, and the team can work together to find the solution. Brainstorming can be an awesome decision making tool and can bring about great results. It is important, however, to realize when one would and when one would not choose to use this technique.
There are certain situations in which such an overwhelming response is not appropriate. Brainstorming can be pretty time consuming because we need to collect every team members' ideas. When we are facing some situations that are urgent and must be dealt with immediately, brainstorming will not be appropriate. I was working in an inspection company. The company performs the pre-shipment inspection for wasted material, and releases certificates that it is required for custom clearance in China. There were situations when we found problems in some containers in the late afternoon, but the shipment needed to be shipped the next day.
We didn't have time to brainstorm for ideas; we had to act quickly and used the first solution that it was available. Conclusion Brainstorming is a powerful technique that breaks through narrow thinking by tapping into ones creativity, calling on every viable, however random, solution imaginable. It helps generate radical ideas and can lead to remarkable results. References DeJanasz, Dowd, and Schneider. (2001) Interpersonal Skills in Organizations.
Chapter 19. Problem Solving: Using Tools, Processes, and Creative Approaches. McGraw-Hill Companies. Retrieved December 14, 2004 from web > Bartle, Phil (2003). Brainstorming: Structured Group Decision Making. Aid Workers Exchange.
Retrieved December 14, 2004 from web > Bradbury, Ray (2004). Brainstorming Techniques That Work. Retrieve December 14, 2004, from web.