Not all ideas are derived directly from the depths of our brains and come out perfect. Some ideas require careful selection and augmentation in order to reach a conclusively acceptable state. After all, not all of us are like Archimedes with his signature “Eureka!” moment.
Most teachers tell their students to brainstorm for fresh and new ideas to present to the class whenever they ask for an output. However, the process of brainstorming is not really explained as anything other than pumping out ideas, and the students are just expected to “wing it”.
This article is dedicated to giving students insights on the strategies that will help them brainstorm efficiently either by themselves or in a group. And if you are interested, then continue reading the article to find out how.
Brainstorming is a process that is involved in a lot of activities that require intellectual skill. For instance, brainstorming is part of the pre-writing process whenever an individual wants to make an essay, reaction paper, or any other academic paper. Brainstorming is also involved with the creation of various research as they are the primary step that researchers must take in order to find a topic and narrow down their focus.
That explanation may sound daunting due to the number of technical terms included, which is why it is better to think of it this way: brainstorming is kind of like picking the ingredients from a garden, wherein the ingredients are the ideas you will conjure. These ingredients (ideas) are what you will prepare for dinner (the output). You will need to cook (refine and edit) these ingredients in order to get the best result possible.
There are two general scenarios that befall an individual when they are asked to brainstorm ideas. Either they are tasked to do it individually, or they are tasked to brainstorm ideas as a group. There are hardly any noticeable differences between the core tactics for brainstorming between the two but it would still be worthwhile to discuss the different strategies in order to excel at both.
Brainstorming by yourself has its own perks and drawbacks. One of its perks includes the fact that you are not in danger of having the same ideas as any other person in the group as you are the only member. However, it also has a significant drawback which is the lack of individuals to talk to or share ideas with.
The most important tactic in order to excel at brainstorming is to have a free mind. A mind that is not constrained by what is conventional, and a mind that is able to think outside the box. Creativity is the foundation for all the ideas that will sprout when brainstorming, and to limit this creativity by not having a free mind is such a waste.
Having a free mind allows for the constant stream of new and imaginative ideas that are not bound by conventional standards and are instead completely novel. This will make it more likely for your ideas to be accepted as they have a hint of novelty and creativity imbued in them.
Since individual brainstorming faces the challenge of not having any external help in order to craft ideas, it would be best to put out as many ideas as one possibly can in order to have a wider pool of choices later on. However, these ideas should still be within the bounds of the topic given beforehand.
This is a great way to combat the primary drawback of brainstorming individually as it allows one to have more choices to choose from later on when they finalize the ideas that they will submit.
If you have no one with which to share ideas and opinions, then simply become both the source and inspiration for your ideas. You can always derive more ideas or improve on the ones that you have already made during the process of brainstorming. What is important is that you pump out as many unique ideas as possible over the given time.
It is not that uncommon for individuals to create great masterpieces which are inspired by other works. The same can also be true for brainstorming wherein great ideas can stem from ones that have already been made and only need a little bit of tweaking.
No matter how many ideas one pumps out, it would be a total waste if they were to completely forget some of them because they forgot to record them. This brings us to the next tip: always remember to write down the ideas you have come up with when brainstorming.
Writing down all the ideas crafted will enable for a written record to exist which will tally all the ideas an individual has come up with so far. This allows fewer repetitions of the same ideas, an easier time recalling all the ideas so far, and allows better organization of the said ideas.
The number of ideas one can conjure over a certain amount of time is irrelevant if these ideas are too far off from the topic. Yes, one should have the freedom and creativity to craft unique and novel ideas; however, they should still be connected from the main topic assigned by the teacher or professor.
Doing brainstorming as a group has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. The most notable of these advantages would be the sheer number of ideas the group can craft as compared to individual brainstorming. However, some of these ideas tend to be similar to each other which is a serious disadvantage when it comes to finalizing the ideas.
It is important for a group to have a head figure who will enact the rules and uphold order within the group. This is the first strategy that will allow efficient grouped brainstorming. Appoint a moderator who is responsible and up for the task to watch over the group as the members craft ideas on their own.
A moderator’s job is to make sure that no individual in the group does not contribute any ideas. They are also assigned to collect all the ideas from the members of the group and safe keep them for discussion later on. Furthermore, a moderator is also tasked to keep mind of the time management of the group so that they may submit the ideas or outputs on time. It may seem like a lot of work, but a moderator is integral to the success and efficiency of the group’s brainstorming session.
After the collection of the various ideas from every member of the group, the next step to follow is to discuss with the group about the specifics of the ideas. This will allow the group to decide which ideas to scrap and which ones to keep.
Discussions are important so that every member can voice out their opinions and comments about their ideas and the ideas of other group members. This will make the group more unified and be able to make decisions better.
Some ideas will inevitably be scrapped either because they are similar to another idea or that it just doesn’t seem worthwhile. So, make sure to discuss with the group the reasons as to why these ideas will not be accepted.
Just like with individual brainstorming, it is also important to write down the ideas which the group has decided to accept. Just as there are more individuals in the group, there will also be more ideas to spring out of each individual’s minds. Thus, keeping track of these ideas by writing them down is an important strategy to maximize the efficiency of the group.
It would be hard to keep track of what ideas are accepted and what ideas should be scrapped. Plus, writing down the ideas that are considered worthwhile will do the group a huge favor when organizing them later on.
When organizing ideas, it can be extremely difficult for a single individual to find the right order and structure with which to organize his/her ideas. This issue is multiplied tenfold when organizing ideas in a group brainstorming session.
However, no matter the level of difficulty, there are still noteworthy advantages of organizing ideas that greatly outweigh the challenges. For instance, arranging the ideas conjured by the group will allow for a smoother and faster experience when the actual output is asked by the teacher. Furthermore, this also allows similar ideas to be merged into one broader idea that will save both time and space in the paper.
Even if you are in a group, the individual voices of the members should still be heard to make the brainstorming session a success. Communication is the key to any successful transaction or agreement. This also holds true for a group brainstorming session.
If you feel like your idea needs to be clarified a bit, then speak up and defend your ideas. Or, if you feel like you have trouble understanding the ideas of other members, then do not be afraid to raise questions.
As leading home tuition, we believe communication can do a lot to strengthen the ideas produced by a group. If there is a noticeable weakness within an idea, then shed light on it so that the group may decide how to overcome that weakness or decide to remove that idea from the list of accepted ones.
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