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Brainstorming – What Is It Exactly?

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…thunderbolts and lightning,

very very exciting,


err, not exactly!

But close. Brainstorming is not as scientific or as organised as some might like to think.

If you look it up, the classic definition of brainstorming is something along the lines of  ‘Brainstorming is a group creativity technique designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution to a problem‘. It then goes on to explain the ‘rules’, suggest ‘techniques’, provide ‘software’…? …all very controlled and clinical…!

Back in 1953 things were a lot simpler. Based upon the concept of a real natural uncontrolled storm, with thunderbolts and lightning (all very, very exciting…) where you have no idea how the storm is going to pan out nor what the destruction or aftermath may or may not be, brainstorming was just another human analogy of an uncontrolled natural event.

So how do we do it, this brainstorming thing..? Easy, get the involved persons together and start by stating the problem. Allow a person or persons to suggest a short solution (no details, no criticisms, no interruptions) followed by others who espouse upon earlier solutions with offbeat alternatives or wacky sidetracks. Anything and everything goes (except stuff verging on the ridiculous as that just wastes everyone’s time) and when the free flowing melee of ideas abates, take stock of what others have said and retreat into your own thoughts… and you’ll be surprised by what you come up with.

Remember the trick to brainstorming is ‘Resistance is futile, so go with the flow‘, just as we must do with nature…

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