22 Jul An Alternative To Brainstorming
People think about things in different ways when problem solving and coming up with creative ideas. Currently when teams need to come up with a new idea, the go to move is to have a brainstorm. This suits people who are good at coming up with ideas on the spot and like to verbally soundboard their thoughts, but for those who need to take the time to mull ideas over by themselves, this method is not always the most effective. So companies are loosing out on many of their potential ideas and contributions.
The other day I came across an alternative to brainstorming called brainswarming. It’s a new method to collaboratively problem solve and gather ideas by writing them down in a central place. It allows team members to mull ideas over at their own pace and to contribute whenever they have something useful to add.
Here’s is how it works:
- Find a central place where everyone can see and add to the brainswarm, such as a white board in the tea and coffee area (this could also be translated to an online forum).
- Write the goal of the brainswarm at the top of the board and the resources the team has to work with at the bottom.
- Then team members can write ideas on the board wherever they have something to add – the top down thinkers refining the goal and the bottom up thinkers analysing the resources or adding new ones.
- Eventually the contributions will connect up, linking the goal to the resources with a range of solutions.
For organisations this can open up problem solving discussions to large groups of employees from all levels, pooling expertise and creativity in a structured manner. It means the discussion can be held over weeks or months rather than by a small group of people in a room for one hour. The pioneers of brainswarming also claim that teams can generate far more ideas in a shorter amount of time using the brainswarming approach compared to brainstorming.So the next time your team suggests a brainstorm to find a solution for a problem, why don’t you give brainswarming a try instead.
*Images sourced from Harvard Business Review video – Brainswarming: because brainstorming doesn’t work