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What is brainstorming?

Types of brainstorming and tips for leading a brainstorming session

Brainstorming involves a calm, informal approach to problem solving combined with non-standard thinking.

It encourages people to come up with ideas and solutions that seem a little crazy at first glance. Some of these ideas can become original and creative solutions to a problem, while others can lead to the emergence of more new ideas. During brainstorming sessions, you should avoid criticism and rewarding ideas. What you need to do is try to open up new possibilities and stop misconceptions from the very beginning. Judgments and analysis at this stage of the emergence of ideas limit creativity.

Evaluate the ideas at the end of the session. This is the time when you need to take a closer look at the decisions, using conventional approaches.

Types of brainstorming

Individual brainstorming

Individual brainstorming often leads to the creation of more and in most cases - better ideas compared to the group. This may be due to the fact that the groups do not follow the rules so strictly. Another reason is that people pay more attention to what others say, instead of generating their own ideas or forgetting them while waiting their turn.

When they think in private, people do not worry about the opinion and ego of others and feel calmer, which increases their creativity. They may, of course, fail to develop their ideas fully, as they do not have as much experience as the group would have.

Individual brainstorming is most effective when you need to solve a simpler problem, when you need to create a list of ideas, or focus on a bigger problem. Group brainstorming is more effective at solving complex problems.


To make your brainstorming session as useful as possible, choose a quiet place to sit and think. Reduce things that distract you to a minimum and use mind maps to organize and develop your ideas.

Group brainstorming

In group brainstorming you can benefit from the experience and creativity of all members of your team. When one of them stops developing his idea, the experience of the others can take it to the next level.

Another advantage of group brainstorming is that it helps everyone feel useful and that they have contributed to solving the problem. In addition, group sessions are often quite fun and can be used as a means of building team spirit.

However, group brainstorming can be very risky. Unusual suggestions can be overlooked and even ridiculed. Therefore, it is important that the facilitator does not allow these ideas to be trampled upon.


Whenever possible, brainstorming participants should have different qualifications and experience. This will make the sessions more creative. Do not make the group too large - usually the most effective are groups of 5 to 7 people.

How to lead a brainstorming session?

Step 1: Prepare the group

Create a comfortable environment in which to hold the session. Make sure the room is well lit and has all the necessary tools and resources, including snacks and drinks.

How much information and training does your team need to start offering solutions to the problem?

Remember that in order for your team to start offering solutions, it needs advance preparation, but if it is too extensive, it can suffocate and even destroy the free and slightly anarchic nature of brainstorming meetings.

Think about who will attend the meeting. If you bring together only people who think the same way, you will not be able to generate many creative ideas. Therefore, try to include employees with different qualifications, as well as those who have different ways of thinking.

When everyone is together, appoint one person to write down the ideas. It doesn't have to be the team leader - it's hard to write down and give ideas at the same time. Mark the ideas on a whiteboard or flipchart so everyone can see them, or use a computer with a projector.

If the people you invite are not used to working together, you can start with a game or exercise to bring them closer.

Step 2: Present the problem

Clearly present the problem you want to solve, along with the criteria you want to meet. Explain that the purpose of the meeting is to generate as many ideas as possible.

Give the team enough time to think calmly and have everyone write down their ideas. Then ask those present to share their ideas, giving everyone an equal opportunity to present.

Step 3: Guide the discussion

Once all team members share their ideas, start a group discussion to further develop them and why not - to lead to new ideas. Upgrading other people's ideas is one of the most important aspects of group brainstorming.

Encourage everyone to give their share in the discussion, including quieter people, and do not allow anyone to criticize other people's ideas.

As a discussion leader, you can share your ideas, but you should spend most of your time and energy supporting and directing the conversations. Discuss a topic and shift the focus if people start to deviate from it.


Remember that everyone should have fun during the brainstorming. Encourage creativity and encourage the team to come up with as many ideas as possible, whether they are practical or not.

Don't follow one line of thought for too long. Make sure you generate enough ideas and study them in detail.

If a member of your team feels the need to be alone to consider an idea, allow them to do so.

Remember that if the brainstorming session turns out to be longer, you need to take enough breaks to allow people to stay focused.

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