If you have a real problem, Brainstorming is a good way to come up with a solution or two. As the name suggests, the idea is that you storm on the neural pathways through the brain to pick a lot of thoughts quickly and intuitively. It's best to do this with a group of diverse people, so you have lots of different brains to explore. This leads to the creation of more ideas and maybe new solutions.
Before you start, make sure you solve the right problem. Einstein said, to solve a problem “I Would Spend 55 Minutes Defining the Problem and then Five Minutes Solving It.” Tina Seelig, a well-known professor on creativity, teaches to define a problem by reframing the question. For example, by simply asking “Why?”.
Say you brainstorm ideas for a birthday party for your mom, you can ask: “Why do we organize birthday parties?” You might then realize that we do them to make people feel special. Then ask “How can I make my mom feel special?”. Now a totally different idea might come up.
Let’s take a classroom example and see how a teacher can do it
Once you defined the real problem, Let’s take a classroom example and see how a teacher can do it here are 3 ways:
Guided Group Brainstorming
First, get some markers and a whiteboard or some post-it notes. Then invite the participants, these are your brains.
Then lay out the 4 ground rules of Brainstorming:
- Get out all the ideas, no matter how silly.
- Avoid criticism. There are no bad ideas.
- Welcome crazy ideas.
- Build on other people’s ideas - listen to the ideas first and then add a “YES and”
Teachers, you can start now. Write the problem as a question on the whiteboard. Then ask all of your students to throw in their ideas. As a facilitator, keep the discussion focused on the topic. To ensure that people don’t speak over one another, you can provide a mic which is passed around. Note down all ideas and put them up for everyone to see. Remind people to add on to ideas. If Arun thinks of: “let's build a paper plane” Varun can say: “YES AND let's make it big one…”. If someone tries to criticize, the teacher can always bring the discussion to normal.
At the end of the session, see if there are two ideas that can be combined. In brainstorming, the slogan is 1+1 makes 3. Then let the students vote to know which are the most popular ones. You can now start doing things.
Now let’s explore the second method of brainstorming
The Nominal Group Technique
Explain the ground rules and present the problem. Then ask each student to write their ideas anonymously. Then collect the ideas and let the group vote on each idea. The top-ranked ideas may be sent back to the participants or subgroups for further brainstorming. For example, one group may brainstorm on the form of a product, while the other focuses on the technical features.
And now the last way
The Group Passing Technique
Let your students sit in a circle, explain the rules and present the problem. Each student writes down one idea and then passes the piece of paper to the next person, who adds some thoughts. This continues until everybody gets his or her original piece of a paperback. By this time, it is likely that the group will have extensively elaborated on each idea. Let everyone explain their evolved idea and write each on up. You can then let the group vote.