Seven steps to better brainstorm. Or maybe more. Is it the right word to brainstorm?

Let’s start with this… This is not the best title. I really don’t like the word brainstorming. This means that a group of people get together and produce a lot of deas to solve the problem. In 1953, Alex are gathered, Mr Osborne (Alex Faickney Osborn) in his application “imagine” (Applied Imagination) introduced in this method, he suggested that the team can increase their creativity through brainstorming. The title of the book is called application imagination, which is very appropriate, and the trick is in the “application” section.

Cerebral palsy, author of Kevin p. Coyne and Shawn t. Coyne noted that today the problem of brainstorming is a group of people (for technical or political reasons) is selected, and placed in a room and an external host, asked people to think outside the box. Traditional brainstorming is quick, angry, and ultimately shallow, and I completely agree. By taking a more systematic approach, you can get better results from the ideas/solutions that they put forward to invest in the seminar.

Host don’t know how much I have to see how many organizational function or the senior team problem solving techniques, design thinking concepts and tools or systems thinking or consciousness training, this is usually a recipe for failure.


The McKinsey quarterly article “better brainstorming seven steps” comes from the author’s new book, brainstorm, to try to solve some of these problems. They call it “Brainsteering,” which may be another buzzword, but it’s better than brainstorming. The following are the author’s main recommendations, and I add my comments to the reader’s consideration:

Know your organization’s decision criteria – so hope to trigger a team of creative thinking of managers should first understand (and in some cases) received molding company will be used to make about the idea of decision criteria. Are there any absolute restrictions or restrictions?

My advice is that in some cases this might be appropriate, and in general, it limits the creative process too much. For those who work in large organizations, we know how difficult it is to make a decision, and it is almost impossible. This is a political process, and it is also an implementation process, not in any company’s operating manual. I don’t think it’s realistic. Coupled with changes in the external environment can quickly change the risk appetite of executives, any criteria we impose may be ineffective. I would say ignore this one.

Ask the right questions – decades of academic research have shown that traditional, loosely structured brainstorming techniques (” the greater the number of ideas, the greater the probability of a winner! “) ) it’s better to provide more structure. Build your workshop around a series of “right questions” and in a series of creative generation meetings, your team will explore in small groups. The trick is to identify problems with two characteristics. First, they should force your participants to take a new and unfamiliar perspective.

I want to say that this is the number one most important part of any creative exercise. Our practical experience on Idea Couture is that we use design thinking techniques to help them design and identify problems, and better frameworks mean new perspectives and better solutions. It’s a lot of science and art. We use visual perception, customer journey mapping, strategic foresight scenarios, and other 5 or 6 technologies to get the job done.

The strategic framework can involve the use of many different lenses, one example is time. Time may be a frame of reference. Whether we are talking about the past, present or future. Young people use optimistic words to describe the world. Mature people are realistic when they are exposed to many things in life. The past history of an organization has brought some legitimacy and limited the way they see things.

Choose the right people – they suggest choosing only those who can answer the questions you ask. This sounds obvious, many traditional brainstorming session is not what happens, there will be less participants tend to be chosen when a specific knowledge, rather than their prominent position in the organization chart.

I understand the author’s point of view, but it’s about balance. I don’t think we can ignore the fact that the decisions made by large organizations are always a political process. We need to strike a balance between the domain knowledge, the outsider’s perspective and the project stakeholders to gain momentum. This is a necessary evil. You can’t ignore people who have a voice in an organization and part of the power circle. That’s life.

Divide and rule – it is important to separate the “saboteurs” from their own group when they are assigned to the group. These people apply to the workshop in other ways, but intentionally or unintentionally; Prevent others from coming up with good ideas. They have three types: the boss, the big mouth and the subject matter expert. If the participants span multiple organizational levels, the presence of the boss often makes people hesitate to express unproven ideas. The big mouth takes up air time, the threat is not so confident, gives others a lazy excuse. Subject-matter experts can suppress new ideas, because everyone follows their supposedly superior intelligence, even if they are biased or not fully aware of the issues at hand.

The author has put forward a lot of good Suggestions here, carefully selecting people, assigning them to the team, and managing the “big mouth” is a good suggestion. This requires some advance planning, but our experience shows that this is an important step that we should not ignore. Yes, brainstorming requires strategic planning.

One big problem that the authors ignore is the role of social technology in creating and managing the value chain. This has a great effect on how ideas are collected, social and activated. When they are built on top of another, the idea is much better, and at this point, you can’t even get it back to the source of the idea. This may be another article for next week.


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