Rules for Brainstorming

I’m currently reading Claire Diaz-Ortiz’s book, Design Your Day. In chapter two she lays out some rules for brainstorming from Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving by Alex Osborn. I’ve never been good at brainstorming (if that is even a skill). I often limit myself by automatically throwing out bad ideas. I know, in principle, that only good ideas come from pile of bad ideas but there is still a mental roadblock to me. Often times with my team at work I will put this front and center and force myself and others to come up with all ideas, both good and bad. I’m slowly learning the power of brainstorming and I found these four principles helpful and will incorporate them in my next brainstorming session:

  1. Focus on quantity not quality
  2. Withhold criticism
  3. Welcome unusual ideas
  4. Combine and improve ideas

This last point I think will might prove especially helpful. I think this probably happens naturally but it is still helpful to have this as a specific step to take in the brainstorming process.

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