Purposeful or Random Brainstorming?

A guest blog post by Naomi from Mindomo.

Which side are you on?

There have been great debates regarding the efficiency of brainstorming in project and business planning, productivity enhancement and problem solving. Some argue that brainstorming is a powerful tool for boosting creative ideas especially as people collaborate together as part of the same group. Others suggest that brainstorming is more efficient when the person is generating ideas on its own without being influenced by the thought process of other group members. Along the same lines, in one of his articles posted in The New Yorker, Jonah Lehrer makes the point that group brainstorming stifles personal creativity. His conclusion was based on an empirical research study performed with university students from Yale University in 1958.

So, which side are you on? Has brainstorming been efficient for the development of your business life so far or not?

The debate regarding the utility of brainstorming may not be solved on the spot, in the light of a one true answer. And for this very reason it may be that the question in itself may not have been well asked to begin with. It all depends on the perspective someone is having on a particular issue or topic.

Firstly, visualize the concept on a mind map

Here’s a suggestion on how you can expand your thinking and allow yourself to visualize and analyze a concept by looking at the big picture so you won’t be tempted to look at it from one point of view only.

With the help of Mindomo mind mapping application have a look at “brainstorming” and the questions mentioned above and analyze other possible options as you branch out ideas on a mind map:

Brainstormining

Secondly, give your concept a purpose

a. Know and define the topic

In this case the topic is already known as “Brainstorming”. And when placed on a mind map it becomes the central topic as it can be seen in the illustration above.

b. Research information about the topic

On a mind map, you can insert the links and keep track of your research data, having access to the desired links straight from the mind map you created.

c. Set objectives

Starting from the central topic, add other main topics that are related to the central topic or that help explain it and then branch out into clear objectives which you want to focus on as you develop your mind map.

d. Add actions to your objectives

Without establishing the right steps that need to be taken in order to achieve your objectives, your brainstorming will be purposeless. Give purpose to your brainstorming by identifying the action you need to take in order to make it efficient.

e. Get the group involved

Ask your team members to provide useful feedback and contribute with their ideas to the development of your concept. A collaborative approach may enrich your experience of brainstorming depending on how active the group members are, how focused they are on the topic and how involved they are in the process.

And now see in a snapshot the details that you should focus on to make your brainstorming purposeful by using mind mapping:

Mindmapping

Thirdly, learn how to use the concept for your work process

Just because you know or you can define a certain concept, idea or topic it does not necessarily mean that you are prepared to use it, or understand its relevance for your work process. So, before jumping to conclusions ask yourself if you are ready to learn how to make the best of an idea, in this case: are you ready to make the best of brainstorming and learn how to use it so that your work is more efficient?

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