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Two Structured Brainstorming Methods to Fill In The Gaps

I’m following up on last Thursday’s post on brainstorming and collaboration with a couple known brainstorming methods. The two methods listed below come immediately to mind. Each promotes collaboration amongst team members and thinking more holistically – helpful for many small startups who may lack expertise in key functional areas.
  • Disney’s Brainstorming Method: Dreamer, Realist, and Spoiler. One of the largest, creative companies in the world has a process to identify new opportunities by establishing “rooms” where all ideas are brought to the table with little prejudice. After the ideas are brought forth, the team evaluates the realism of each idea (shortening the list). Then, the team runs through a “spoiler” room where each idea is scrutinized for actual value and viability. Here, ideas are tested for sustainability. Disney’s method compartmentalizes the ideation process so all ideas are brought to the table before shooting any of them down. Based on their track record, seems helpful.
  • Six Thinking Hats. We’re all aware of the “Jack of All Trades” associate in the office. He wears “multiple” hats – each hat representing a specific role (product development, marketing, developer, etc.). In the Six Thinking Hats method, team members are designated specific hats which Edward de Bono says represent the way the brain thinks in six distinct ways. The hats represent: Managing, Information, Emotions, Discernment, Optimistic, and Creativity. By designating resources to each hat, ideas can be thought of in a cohesive, challenging, and holistic way.
Most brainstorming sessions like my recent ones (and many others) are unstructured. Here, individual(s) must step up to fill a gap the team lacks to help shape an idea more holistically. This could be tricky, however, if teams don’t know what they don’t consider. Structured brainstorming methods could help mitigate these oversights. Things to ponder…

What other brainstorming methods have you heard of or used? Without structure, how has your team mitigated the risk of thinking in silo or lacking the holistic view?

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