How can I brainstorm just ideas

Brainstorm properly

We recently had an innovation workshop lasting several days with a group of executives from a customer, in which, at the customer's request, we also included elements of our creativity training. This means that we not only used creativity techniques and a systematic creative process in order to advance on the specific topic of the company, but also explicitly explained and reflected on the so-called thinking tools.
At the end of each day we discussed what was individually important for the participants on the day in question. On the first day I was particularly interested in the statement made by many participants that they particularly learned how to do a real brainstorming session and how effective it can be. It was also realized that the previous “brainstorming sessions” were actually not in retrospect.
There are many scientific studies on the subject of brainstorming that show that the creativity technique of brainstorming supposedly does not work. About every three years the topic is stirred up again by the media and confirmed with the help of a consultant that brainstorming is really not effective and that an individual develops more ideas than a brainstorming group.

Basic rules of brainstorming

A few (few) of the studies indicate - from our experience quite rightly - that the effectiveness of a brainstorming depends very much on how it is carried out and whether it is carried out “correctly”.
First of all, the basic rules of divergent thinking and the strict separation between the development of ideas and the evaluation of ideas apply to every phase of the development of ideas, regardless of the technology.
From our observations and from discussions with customers in the context of an innovation workshop and creativity training, we know that this first fundamental point alone is ignored in most cases or is consistently adhered to. For this reason, many brainstorming sessions are actually discussions with the occasional development of ideas.

A facilitator makes it possible

As soon as a group consists of more than four people, it also makes sense to employ a facilitator who ensures compliance with the basic rules, leads the group back to the topic again and again and continuously encourages the participants to generate further ideas.
The facilitator can also ensure that a group remains really open to all ideas that are mentioned and tries to build on these ideas and develop them further.

Use other creativity techniques

If, at some point, the flow of ideas not only slows down, which is a completely normal aspect of good brainstorming, but really comes to a standstill, then you can use further creativity techniques to stimulate the flow of ideas again. There are a large number of techniques for this. We have described many of them in our book “Thinking Tools of Creativity and Innovation”, as well as brainstorming, by the way.
We start every idea generation with a brainstorming session, because the procedure is also very well suited to collecting the initial ideas floating on the surface of the brain and building on them.