A simple approach, but has advantages which belie its simplicity.
The issue holder states concisely their issue and puts this onto a flip chart.
Group members then shout out possible approaches to the issue which are noted onto the flip chart.
- Do not discuss any suggestions just note them down
- Do not limit suggestions (censure)
- Think laterally
- Use others ideas to help generate more
The group will then look at the generated list and each give an opinion on which of the suggestions they think would be the most productive.
An alternative is to identify which method is most likely to fail.
At the close of that round the issue holder identifies which of the ideas they want to explore in more detail and uses the remaining time in the group to focus upon this.
In this method, the group is asked to find as many ways as possible that an idea might fail. This can generate both energy and fun, as well as possibly identify an unrecognised weakness of a course of action.
If a group is not used to brainstorming, they often need an exercise to raise the energy and increases the lateral thinking ability of the group. For instance, such an exercise might consist of asking the group to name, in under 2 minutes, 30 different things one can do with a hedgehog.