Brainstorming – a collection of ideas

What is it?

The term ‘Brainstorming’ has been used since the 1890's: first to mean a mental disturbance, then by the 1920s to mean a brainwave, then from 1938 in Osborn's sense of group brainstorming.

The current use of the term brainstorming is as a technique that encourages creative thinking and the generation of ideas.

When to use it

  • Generating a list of ideas
  • Identifying possible data requirements
  • Developing objectives for solutions
  • Generating possible solutions
  • Developing action plans

What does it achieve?

Providing the rules and principles are carefully followed, brainstorming can achieve the following:

  • Many ideas are produced in a short timeframe
  • Enable participants to both contribute individually and to benefit from the ideas generated by others.
  • Encourage the generation of ‘unusual’ ideas
  • Encourage deeper thinking about particular problems
  • Create the environment that will enhance group activity and teamwork
  • Create a more positive environment in which to approach problem solving

Key steps

  • Avoid criticism
  • Encourage and ideas - freewheel
  • Quantity of ideas first
  • Record all ideas
  • Reflect on ideas - incubate