A Simple But Very Effective Tool in Performance Improvement – Brainstorming

May 25, 2010 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment

Those of you who follow “Conversations” know I am doing a series on some of the basic components of performance improvement initiatives. It occurs to me that it might be useful to sprinkle some information about useful tools to use in PI efforts throughout the series. So here is one the very effective tool – Brainstorming.

During any improvement initiative there are many times when the input of co-workers and other affected by the improvement effort will need to have input for the effort to be successful. Performance improvement is a team sport. One effective way to get a lot of input in a short amount of time is by brainstorming. Brainstorming is an intentionally uninhibited technique for generating a lot of creative ideas that utilizes the most valuable asset……….you.

Many of us are not very good at brainstorming. We seem to have “issues” with this very effective technique. We have been taught to think of an idea and immediately evaluate it and quickly judge whether it is practical or workable and whether it will be accepted by other people. In some brainstorming sessions some ideas are not even expressed because the individual has evaluated it and discarded it as being impractical. But that assessment may be wrong. Most of us want to avoid criticism by other people for having a crazy or ridiculous idea.   Brainstorming helps overcome some of these issues.

Here are some basic rules for Brainstorming:

  • Keep the size of the brainstorming group to 5 to 10 members
  • Clearly identify the topic for brainstorming so everyone involved understands it.
  • Make sure everyone has the opportunity to contribute their ideas.
  • Quantity is more important than quality.  The greater the number of ideas generated, the more likely the best solution will surface.
  • Encourage freewheeling.  Be wild and creative!
  • State ideas in a single phrase or sentence.  In the early rounds of brainstorming don’t allow unnecessary explanation or justification for an idea.
  • Encourage piggybacking on ideas.  Combine your ideas with another already submitted.  Be creative.
  • No criticism!  No evaluation or judgment of an idea is to be made at this time.  When you criticize ideas, you throw away the building blocks for the great ones.
  • Record all ideas.  Don’t edit the ideas.   Just jot them down as they are mentioned.

Brainstorming increases our ability to figure out different ways which to solve a problem, describe a practice, suggest alternatives, and it encourages synergism within an organization. It is an effective technique that leads to creating the best solutions to problems by allowing those involved to quickly generate a large number of new and creative ideas.  You will be surprised how easy it is to identify many possible solutions to problems that are incubating in the minds of people who work around the problems every day.

By following some simple guidelines for brainstorming, teams can identify potential solution’s to  problems more effectively.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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