in Inspiration

A different approach to brainstorming

One of the most important aspects of creating web applications for living is the process of brainstorming. The purpose is actually clear and easy to understand. You just have to connect a few minds and help them produce ideas up to a point that they have something common to believe in, something that will provide a solution to a current issue.

The bad side of this process is that you have to start from a common place. Why is that a problem? Let me explain by an example.

Brainstorming as a job (ok a cool job…)

In the past weeks we have actually burnt our brains in order to find out what’s the next step for Social Whale (more on that in a later post) which actually means that we have used all our time for about two weeks in brainstorming sessions.

The need for another way

Aristotle once said “Από ορισμού άρξαστε” which in a free translation means something like “You have to question everything”. So we need fresh innovative ideas or if you prefer a breakthrough idea that can change the world in our eyes.

In open brainstorming sessions, people will try to add pieces to an idea which typically comes from the most experienced person in the field. Which can’t help because there’s already a starting point. What we were looking for was not a starting point though.

So how can I have a fresh idea?

In a nutshell, let the less experienced do the talk. How do you do that? Here is an easy process we found:

  1. Everyone writes down (in an email) a possible solution for the problem.
  2. Using a countdown app (in our case we’ve used Timer for Mac) we keep this for 15 minutes.
  3. Everyone sends the mail to the company’s mail.
  4. We are pitching our idea to the others as we would if we haven’t listened the other pitches.
  5. Start the conversation and find out what works.

This will ensure that we have original ideas from everyone, and this is mandatory. In most cases when someone starts with an idea people tend to use this idea instead of making their own. And when you need something really new and innovative this should not happen.

The time factor is also very important as we don’t need people to invent something in this process. We just need a simple idea that will lead to the invention and this should be quick.

When we have less experienced or even completely unexperienced people in a brainstorming session like the one I’ve described before, the results are great because their approach is often the way to the solution. This is because completely unexperienced people take the non technical way and focus on the why(s) and the how(s).

Anyway that’s all with the “speedstorming” technique, hope you will like it :)

A different approach to brainstorming by
  1. This “technique” might seem awkard to many but, having countless sessions of brainstorming myself, I have come to the same conclusion as you guys. Never tried to “invent” a new brainstorming way, but here you are serving yours freely. And I’d say it’s a very promising one!

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