asset decency innovation
limit focus (2) think outside the box
allow goal (2) come up with
step (3) state (2) participant
solve achieve make sure
flip discuss excitement
aim (2) generate stimulation
list effective mind-map
risk sufficient as many as possible
session circulate run the risk
group require contribute
role take place opportunity
rule (2) speak up enthusiasm
flow take part atmosphere (2)
key (2) flip chart come up with
crazy criticize appropriate
usable formulate throw/threw/thrown
brain evaluate encourage
analyze dominate take action
mode judge (2) breakthrough (2)
infinite likelihood open the floor
elicit response



In the information age, new ideas are the greatest assets for success. And since innovative, effective, usable ideas is virtually unlimited, success is unlimited as well.

There are creative thinking techniques you can use to get people in your organization to think outside the box.

One of them is brainstorming.

Brainstorming allows anyone to come up with great ideas to make the company better.

A Session

The steps to brainstorming are simple.

First, gather the group together in a meeting room. The best number of participants for a brainstorming session is between four to seven people. Any less than four, and you run the risk of not having enough stimulation. Any more than seven, and you may find that there is insufficient opportunity for everyone to take part.

The Set up

The problem or goal should be stated clearly and simply so that it is understood by each participant. Formulate a focal question to solve the problem or achieve the goal.

Then write the question on a flip chart or white board. In this mode, the ideas become clear and visible to all, and help generate further ideas.

The Process

Now open the floor to suggestions, and write them down the responses (alternatively, you could have the participants come up to the board and write them).

You might also want to create a mind-map instead of a simple list.

The aim of the brainstorming session should be to generate as many ideas as possible.

Each brainstorming session requires a group leader. The role of the leader is to keep new ideas coming as free-flowing as possible. Tell everyone to speak up and make contributions.

And especially encourage wild, crazy and outlandish ideas.

Ideas and Suggestions

The key to achieving this is an atmosphere of positive energy, emotions, enthusiasm, excitement, fun and laughter.

You could make it a game to see how many ideas the group and individuals can come up with.

Quantity over Quality

Just as important, never criticize or judge any idea or person during the process — but within human decency. The leader needs to ensure that no one says anything that throws water on the ideas of anyone else and to encourage thinking outside the box (evaluation and discussion of the ideas will take place at a separate session, after and away from the original brainstorming).

For now, the focus is on the quantity of ideas, not quality.

If a few participants dominate the discussion, call upon the quieter ones.


An effective session will last anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.

At the end of the session, write down every idea from the board (or photo it). At a later time, the list can be typed up and circulated.

Then analyze the ideas and take action on the “good” ones, though you can never tell which ideas will be the breakthrough solution that you need, so take appropriate risks.

Ideas are Priceless

By brainstorming, you can come up with an infinite amount of ideas. And the more ideas you have, the greater the likelihood that you will have exactly the idea that you need at exactly the right time.


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1. According to the article, the greatest resource is money. True or false?

2. Should people brainstorm on a wide variety of issues and challenge for each session? How do you set up a session?

3. Is it better to write down the ideas on a notebook or whiteboard?

4. Only consider “logical”, “smart” and “appropriate” ideas. Is this right or wrong? What is the goal of brainstorming? Should you and others say, “That will never work.”?

5. The best atmosphere is a serious one. Is this correct or incorrect?

6. Should the “educated”, “experienced” and “bright” participants entirely dominate the discussion?

7. What do you do at the end of the session?


A. Does your organization follow established procedures, does it need new ideas, both, neither or in the middle?

B. What sort of ideas would be useful and beneficial to your company?

C. How often do you have meetings? We always, usually, frequently, often, sometimes, rarely, almost never or never have meetings?

D. Do people tend to be dogmatic, conventional and thinking in-the-box? What is it like in your company?

E. What will happen in the future?

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