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Can you explain brainstorming step-by-step?

Below is a quick overview or step-by-step process for brainstorming.

  1. Display the problem, or pose the question the group is to base its brainstorming on. Make it clear so everyone understands.
  2. If the group is large decide whether to divide the large group into sub-groups. Groups over 24 people or so probably should be divided.
  3. Provide instructions orally, and also in written format on a flipchart. Instructions should include the time limit (short), that evaluation must be avoided, and that the idea is to generate as many ideas as possible. Suggest to them that they let go and be crazy.
  4. Designate a recorder or recorders for each group, and arrange for the ideas to be recorded on a visible medium like flipcharts (multiple flipcharts should be available if small sub-groups are used.
  5. If using small groups, circulate, observe and keep groups away from evaluation.
  6. Give a one minute left warning as you approach the time limit, and then indicate termination when time is up. Call time.
  7. Now move to the evaluation phase. Ask each group (or whole group) to review the list of ideas and pick the best three, or if using a single group, lead that process yourself.
  8. Reconvene, and have sub-groups report their top three ideas to the entire group, and have them recorded on flipchart.
  9. Continue sifting to identify the best ideas from the list.

More on brainstorming.

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