3 min.
The brainstorm or the attack of a problem in commando mode
1L’art de la gestion de projet2Un projet à succès commence par une bonne gouvernance3Cascade, agilité, demandes de changement?

The brainstorm or the attack of a problem in commando mode

Business Strategy

brainstorm-darth-vader-250x300From one to many


I am one of those people who instinctively think that to think properly, you have to isolate yourself in your bubble of concentration, alone.

In fact, when you have a problem, you should rather, after thinking alone and if the solution sought is still not found, turn to others for help. We are in a collaborative era , so why stay alone in front of your computer, you have to learn to come together and use other people's ideas intelligently. Do you have skills? Share them with other people as invaluable as you, and what will come out will only be richer and the experience prolific. 

If you put yourself in this state of mind, the brainstorm will impose itself as the answer to your questions.  

The origin of the brainstorm

Translated word for word by brain storm, the word “  brainstorm  ” means in English, German and Russian “to attack in a group, to storm”. An entire program…

The paternity of this practice is attributable to Alex Osborn , American publicist co-founder of the BBDO agency. He's the O. He later drew a more structured method from it, Creative Problem Solving .  

The idea is to promote creativity and the exchange of rich ideas in groups. In short, to give a group with diverse and broad ideas and experiences the possibility of solving particular problems and finding precise solutions. Creativity, freedom of spirit, ideation, abundance, intelligence, incongruities are all terms that could qualify a brainstorm session . 

The main rules of a good brainstorm 

Putting forward ideas:  everyone gives their ideas, in bulk, as it comes to them.

No criticism:  we do not criticize or judge or classify the ideas of each other.

Looting of ideas  : we steal and rebound on the ideas of each other.

One idea, one person  : one person develops one idea at a time.

Everyone in turn:  we don't interrupt others, we don't shout, we don't yell and we respect others.

Stupid but interesting  : we encourage crazy and improbable ideas. One person's stupid idea can lead to another's brilliant idea.

Are you embarrassed?  Don't be, no one should feel judged. It's through natural “disinhibition” and avoiding self-censorship that people relax and you get the best results.


How to do?

The subject:  recall the objective of the meeting, the framework in which it fits and why you need the help of your collaborators.

The rules:  recall the rules of a brainstorm . You can even write them on the board, so that everyone has the same knowledge. 

The duration:  specify how much time you will devote to each part of the meeting: exchange of ideas, organization, prioritization, etc.

Your role:  you are the scribe, the organizer, the supervisor, the idea generator. You control the flow of ideas and the flow of your collaborators. You are the memory of the meeting. Write everything down in plain sight, on a board, on a document projected in the room, etc.

The object:  if you find it difficult for everyone to respect the word of the other, you can use an object. The principle is that it is the one who has the object in hand who expresses himself; the others respecting his speaking time. I've seen companies where participants passed rubber chickens when it was their turn. Each his own…

Conclude the brainstorm

A more difficult step but which will validate whether the brainstorm was effective or not. Here are the steps to follow at this time:  

Recall the purpose of the meeting and the terms of reference.

Review all the ideas listed and eliminate those that are not relevant to this objective.

Group the relevant ideas by theme, invert them, draw out the truly exploitable conclusions. Often this step is performed by one person.

By way of conclusion, a few pitfalls to avoid in order to conduct a brainstorm correctly.    

Avoid giving the floor to those present in a pre-established order, each in turn, with an allotted time. It can be perceived as a moment of performance when in reality, it is about collaboration without rivalry. There is no star that takes up all the space in a brainstorm . The real star is the ideas. Focus on them. 

We must not assume that the experts will necessarily have the answer because we are dealing with their area of ​​expertise. This is about finding new ideas, so surround yourself with people who will be able to bring a fresh perspective to the mandate. The ideas are eccentric and the people just as much, so much the better, we want something new.

Not joking would be a shame. You have to try to forget the usual work environment, forget any hierarchical relationships and have a sense of humour. This last point is a form of intelligence from which the best ideas can emerge.

To your boards, to your pencils, to your brains!