Brainstorming Techniques for the Business Mind

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When it comes to business, brainstorming may be the main source of new ideas. While you may brainstorm by yourself, you can generate more ideas in less time if you include others in your brainstorming session. Here are several brainstorming techniques you can use to incorporate a variety of points of view.

Make Mind Maps With FreeMind

FreeMind is an open source program designed with brainstorming in mind. It allows you to work from a central idea to create a mind map by branching into nodes and sub-nodes. The program is free and works on almost any operating system, so everyone in the group can download it. Follow these steps to use FreeMind as a brainstorming technique.

  • Have everyone start with the same central idea.
  • Set a deadline for everyone to submit the mind maps to you.
  • Compile the information from each individual map onto on master map.

Videoconference for Free-Form Brainstorming

Free-form brainstorming is an idea-generation technique in which individuals say what comes to mind when the thought occurs. This often works best in group settings. You can do it in a conference room, if all the individuals work in the same building, or you can connect individuals through videoconferencing.

You may want to use a white board or a program like FreeMind to track all the ideas that people toss out. To help focus the overall direction of the meeting, make sure you touch on each sub-point that pops up for further expansion.

Collect Ideas With Miranda IM

Do you need to collaborate with colleagues in different areas of the world? Miranda IM is a free and open source program that will allow you to instant message your co-workers. The program can work with a variety of protocols, so you can connect with your colleagues who prefer to use AOL, Yahoo!, Jabber, Facebook, or IRC protocols, to name a few.

For this brainstorming technique to work best, consider using it in a round-robin approach.

  • Make a list of co-workers you want to include in the round-robin session.
  • Send the list out to make sure all the co-workers have the nicknames and approved connections to chat with one another.
  • Start by sending the central idea to the first person on the list.
  • Have that person add a thought and pass the message to the next person.
  • End with the list coming back to you.

Include Everyone With Anonymous Ideas

Sometimes, the best ideas can come from a person who is too shy to speak up in front of a large group. If you have workers who are not actively contributing to the group, consider another brainstorming technique designed to get everyone involved. Pass out paper and pens and have everyone write out ideas.

You can have individuals tear off the ideas and pass them in or have everyone work on individual brainstorming for five minutes. Then, collect all the ideas and read them aloud. Continue with other brainstorming techniques from there.

Brainstorming can be an essential asset to any company. When you need to generate ideas in a group setting, consider using one of the aforementioned techniques.