Methods to improving brainstorming sessions

There a number of ways that groups can improve the effectiveness and quality of their brainstorming sessions.

Avoiding face-to-face groups: Using face-to-face groups can increase production blocking, evaluation apprehension, social matching and social loafing.

Stick to the rules: Brainstorming rules should be followed, and feedback should be given to members that violate these rules. Violations of brainstorming rules tend to lead to mediocre ideas.

Pay attention to everyone’s ideas: People tend to pay more attention to their own ideas, however brainstorming requires exposure to the ideas of others. A method to encourage members to pay attention to others’ ideas is to make them list the ideas out or ask them to repeat others’ ideas.

Include both individual and group approaches: One method that helps members integrate their ideas into the group is brain writing. This is where members write their ideas on a piece of paper and then pass it along to others who add their own ideas.

Take breaks: Allow silence during group discussions so that members have time to think about things through.

Do not rush: Allow lots of time for members to complete the task. Although working under pressure tends to lead to more solutions initially, the quality is usually lower than if more time is spent on the task.

Stay persistent: Members should stay focused and persist at the task even when productivity is low.

Facilitate the session: A skilled discussion leader should lead and coordinate the brainstorming sessions. This leader can motivate members, correct mistakes, and provide a clear standard of work. They can also be used to keep track of all the ideas and make sure that these ideas are available to everyone.

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