Brainstorming refers to a method of lateral thinking in conjunction with an easy approach to problem-solving. Alex Osborn, a Madison Avenue advertising executive, expanded the original approach and published it in his book, Applied Imagination in 1953. Since then, researchers have made several improvements to the original practice.
Brainstorming involves group creativity techniques to obtain a solution for a certain problem. This is done by collecting spontaneously generated ideas from its group members. For instance, Instructors provide a prompt to students and give them a specific period to develop ideas.
Brainstorming results from a relaxed, comfortable method of solving problems. It is combined with lateral thinking. It helps people to generate out-of-the-box thoughts and ideas. Smart ideas can be chosen and used to come up with original and creative solutions to a problem. This enables people to move out of their normal ways of thinking.
It is advisable to avoid quick criticism of ideas because judgment at the beginning can put constraints on an individual’s capacity to generate ideas.
Brainstorming provides a free and open environment for everyone to think. Every participant is encouraged to contribute to reaching a wide array of creative solutions.
Individual brainstorming can also work, in fact, better than group because the thinker is not subject to other people’s judgment. The individual is free to be creative. There are drawbacks to this too, as the individual may not develop ideas as fully. Presence of group members can also be helpful.
Brainstorming is a constituent of design thinking. It is a popular tool for creative workers because it allows them to expand their possibilities. Though teams have rules and a moderator to direct them, the members are free to use lateral thinking to find the most effective solutions to any problem.