When working with project teams it is useful to host brainstorming sessions to collect the team’s ideas on what the major issues are and what ideas they have to fix the problem.
The use of Brainstorming helps the team generate a list of ideas through open participation. During the session, the team focuses on volume, while suspending judgment. Whether used as a problem-solving tool or tool to generate a list of innovative improvement ideas, brainstorming uses the team’s diverse experiences to build consensus and increase buy-in. Alternatively, the team can use Mind Mapping to generate ideas or document known issues.
After the team has listed their individual improvement ideas, each member should read their ideas to the group. As each idea is presented, the group should offer input to help add to the idea. It is extremely important that the team suspends criticism during this part of the session. After an idea has been presented, the Post-it note that lists the idea should be placed on a whiteboard or similar common area. This process is repeated until all team members have read through their ideas. Duplicate ideas should be combined to form a single idea that is better than the original.
After clearly defining the problem, reverse the problem by asking the team “How they could possibly cause the problem?” or “Make it worse?”. Allow the team to brainstorm around reversing the problem to generate a list of all possible causes. Once the team has generated a list of possible causes, challenge the team to design solutions that address the original problem.
Round Robin Brainstorming
After defining the brainstorming objective, distribute a blank piece of paper to each team member and have them list an idea at the top of the page. Ask the team to then pass their paper to left. After the pass, have the team members list a new idea on paper. Continue the process until the team member receives their original paper, or until the idea quota is reached.
After defining the brainstorming objective, challenge the team to think about the task at hand through another person’s perspective (colleague, manager, competitor, leader from the past, customer persona, etc.)
An alternative method to brainstorming is to organize your thinking by using a Mind Map, to learn more about Mind Mapping, click here.
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