Brainstorming Process

Brainstorming takes place in a brainstorm session, a gathering where the participants stimulate and motivate each other to generate a great amount of ideas. The session starts with a good, concrete, simple question or problem. Only this way, can everyone focus on the ideas that answer the question or the problem. Preferably, the brainstorm session is facilitated by a group leader or chairman. Taking notes is almost impossible, so the use of a voice recorder is recommended. A brainstorm session includes various phases:

1. Preparation
The differentiated brainstorm group is determined and consists of 5 to 15 laymen and experts. The group is told in advance what the question or problem definition is, when the brainstorming session takes place and how long it will take. One and a half hours is often seen as the maximum given the intensive nature of this type of meeting. The chairman / discussion leader prepares the required materials for the process, including flip chart, pens, paper, sticky notes, etc.

2. Generate ideas
All ideas are written on whiteboard, flip chart, paper or sticky notes and gathered by the chairman / conversation leader. He also ensures that everyone gets to speak and that no criticism is expressed about each other’s ideas. The chairman ensures that the atmosphere is productive, creative and relaxed. Following this so-called divergence phase, the convergence phase follows, in which all the different ideas are clustered to related subjects.

3. Evaluation
In general, the systematic evaluation of all proposed ideas takes plays after the brainstorming session is over. You can choose to do this part with the same participants or with a smaller group of representative professional experts. For each topic, you evaluate the usefulness of the ideas, the pros and cons and compare them to each other. Prioritisation also often takes place and ideas that can contribute right away (low-hanging fruit), are given the highest priority. By filtering the best and most useful ideas, you gradually go from quantity to quality.


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