Change Implementation Techniques for Forming Transitional Team, Creating Alignment, Maximizing Connectedness and Creativity

Technique 6.11 Basic Guidelines of Brainstorming

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Brainstorming is part of being creative; some enhancing guidelines need to be followed for it to be successful.

Do you follow the guidelines of brainstorming in your sessions? Answer "yes" or "no"




i) Criticism is actively discouraged


ii) Piggybacking off ideas of others


iii) Are all ideas recorded without censorship


iv) Quantity is more important than quality of ideas


v) People listen to ideas of others


vi) No personal attacks allowed


vii) Encourage outrageous, ridiculous ideas


viii) Look for positives of an ideas before negatives


ix) Treat everyone with respect


x) Emotions allowed to occur


xi) Constant interruptions are allowed


If any "no" answers, then the effectiveness of the creativity of brainstorming will be reduced

Notes to answers

Brainstorming is an important part of being creative and some guidelines are

1 Rule out criticism (evaluation has no part in a brainstorming session)

2 "Free wheeling" is welcome and "piggybacking" your ideas off others' is encouraged

3 All ideas offered are recorded without censorship ‐ even wild ideas are recorded

4 Quantity is encouraged without reference to quality ‐ the more ideas, the greater likelihood of useful ideas emerging

5 Listen to others' ideas and look for combinations of ideas, including linking of ideas and improvements.

6 Creative thinking can only blossom in an environment where there is no possibility of personal attack. Furthermore, value everyone's contribution, regardless of how it might appear on first impression. Remember that seeds of brilliance may be contained in a notion that at first looks ridiculous, or the idea may stimulate another idea. Look for what is right in an idea before you look for what is wrong

7 Treat everyone with respect - make sure that each person has an opportunity to contribute. Encourage everyone to participate, including the introverts and junior staff who may feel intimidated. Be open to contrasting points of view; don't dismiss differences of opinion, beliefs, values or ideas. Conflict often leads to creativity. Use opposing perspectives to create a better framework

8 Need to control emotions but not suppress them

9 Allow constant interruptions as this means that you rarely start up again where you left off and may allow a different angle to develop


Not appreciating the value of informal brainstorming that can occur from a random conversations and/or relationships. Associated with this is the need to be careful of groupthink and too many rules, regulations, processes, etc. The latter elements can be introduced for understandable reasons such as to prevent mishaps or to encourage the right behaviours or keep control. On the other hand, these can hinder creativity.

Need to be careful of creating complex processes, etc, to encourage the generation of ideas as these processes can hinder creativity. On the other hand, need to be careful of over-simplifying things, such as 6 steps to creativity, as this can restrict creativity. More often than not, the creative ideas involve discovering obscure or subtle elements that are already present but we have not realized their importance.

(sources: Edward deBono, 1993; Neville Smith et al, 1990; Robert Kriegel et al, 1996; Piers Dudgeon, 2001; Fiona Smith, 2010a)

Reasons Brainstorming Often Fails

Non-threatening environment is not established

Someone becomes censor, ie "... I will summarise that..."

A dominating individual manipulates the session

Lack of structure permits secondary goals to dominate

The dynamics of the group do not encourage divergent and unpredictable thinking

Purpose and relevance are not clear to participants

Problem not suited to brainsto rming, ie too general

Problem is too narrowly defined so that it restricts the thinking process

"...One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea..."

Walter Bagehot as quoted by Kerry Patterson et al, 1996

(sources: Edward deBono, 1993; Neville Smith et al, 1990; Kerry Patterson et al, 1996)

Types of People Need to Increase Creativity

It is claimed by Tom Kelley (2006) that devil's advocates are the biggest innovation killers as they encourage others to assume the most negative perspective.

To overcome this, time the situation so that 10 different types of people are required to counter negativity and spark innovation. They

- introduce fresh ideas (anthropologist, experimenter and cross-pollinator)

- ensure that ideas get enough attention at all levels in the organisation (hurdler, collaborator and director)

- make innovations happen (experienced architect, set designer, caregiver and storyteller)

It is important to have these different types of people in your innovative team to increase the chance of success

(source: Helena Cornelius et al, 2006)

Some Creative Thinking Techniques


"...change a person's perception and you will change their behaviour. Rarely can you change a person's behaviour by logic alone..."

Edward deBono as quoted by Piers Dudgeon, 2001

Furthermore, deBono states

"...paradigmatic shift which is inherent in all thinking programs - the shift from the system rules of logic (which hurry us towards making judgment of the situation) to the system rules of perception (which give us pause to consider that there are other points of view and maybe alternative ways of doing things)......there is a gap between the system we have and the one we need.......Our technology has changed, but our basic thinking tools have not..."

as quoted by Piers Dudgeon, 2001

He goes on to state

"...the concept of movement is an alternative idiom to judgment......the judgment idiom recognizes, identifies, locates and keeps us within the old patterns of thinking. The movement idiom allows us to skip across patterns to discover alternatives, other people's views, new possibilities......argument is the tool of judgment..."

as quoted by Piers Dudgeon, 2001

DeBono is very critical of the influence of the Gang of Three (Aristotle, Socrates and Plato) on thinking creatively, ie

"...they set in stone the judgmental attitude in Western culture. Socrates was heavily into argument (or dialect). In Plato's dialogues, someone put something up and he shot it down. He is a skillful wordsmith......his approach was," that's wrong, that's wrong, that's wrong." So what's right?" Not my business!.......Plato....believing that as there are ultimate truths in mathematics, so there are ultimate truths in life......with his Doctrine of Forms, Plato denied human knowledge the evidence of the senses and at the same time promoted the judgmental mode......Aristotle, Plato's pupil,....invented the syllogism, which was an attempt to bring the certainty of mathematics to argument and ensure that ethics, law, religion, aesthetics, and so on work with the certainty of 2 + 2 = 4.......Aristotle was very keen on classifying things according to their attributes..the validity of the premises was clear and he could put his logic to work......analysing, defining, categorising helped formed the brain's tendency to fit what we perceive into familiar boxes, which closes the door on possibility and keeps firmly in the judgment mode.......90% of our behaviour is about recognizing situations as standard, and applying standard answers......we are going to have to move to another kind of thinking, to what can be......Aristotle's analytical judgmental mode is......excellent, but inadequate. Where the axioms impinge on perception they do not hold good because perception and logic operate in different systems. Perceptions cannot be judged true or false like mathematical propositions. Being relative to conditions and circumstances, they may be true or false at the same time..... in real life, definitions/perceptions differ and are relative to circumstances......relativity is the reality of perception. Absolutism is the reality of the system of logic. Perception is no less real..In fact, it is more real because logic is a closed system divorced from reality, a system in which everything has to be defined in order to work, and life is not like that......the paradox: perceptions are real even when they do not (necessarily) reflect reality. Whether they do or do not reflect reality is not the point of.....(Aristotle, Socrates and Plato's approach) is a fundamentally authoritarian approach to determining what is.......(deBono) sets a different purpose. Within the idiom of movement - creative, constructive, designed thinking - let's discover what can is the nature of the paradigm shift he (deBono) proposes.......With the move away from deep-truth thinking, which has to be defended at all costs, arrogance and righteousness disappear.......There is a constant readiness to change, but also a willingness to use the contingent truth as absolute, provided the perception of a situation is the priority, and is tackled in a constructive, creative fashion......(to find) a new way forward...."

Edward deBono as quoted by Piers Dudgeon, 2001

" ideas are rare because we have been taught analysis and judgement but never creativity..."

Edward deBono, 2005


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