Brainstorming is an effective method of problem solving. In the 2009 New York Times article "A Guiding Hand From Big Business to Small," Alan Green, co-owner of Green Ink Communications, spoke of how a 2-day brainstorming session in 2007 showed what his company did well and where there was room for improvement. Brainstorming is effective because it expands thinking on an issue. A variety of activities exist to utilize the benefits of brainstorming in businesses and organizations.
Night and Day
"Night and Day" is a brainstorming exercise that uses antonyms. The purpose of the game is to improve upon a group's ability to find multiple solutions to a problem and how to come up with them quickly. To begin, the group is to make a list of common terms. They then come up with the first antonym of each that they can think of. Next, they are to think of an additional three for each. Now that the group has practiced finding more than one solution, they can put this in place to tackle whatever problem is being worked on.
What Can You See?
A problem solving method to improve upon creative thinking is the "What Can You See?" game. This game involves presenting three shapes to a group and asking them what they see. The objective is to have the group expand upon what is actually seen by them, and not just expressing generically what the shapes are such as by their color. Rather, the group should examine every detail of not just what the image is but also what it may mean.
Who's Line is it Anyway?
An improvisational brainstorming exercise created by Lyndsay Swinton, Manager of Management for the Rest of Us is "Who's Line is It Anyway?" The game takes its name from the TV show, and the goal is similar to the show in that it's used to improve quick-thinking ability and adaptability to a situation. Five props are used, and each team member is to stand up and find as many new uses for an item as possible.
Yes and Yes/But
The "Yes and Yes/But" game is a brainstorming activity where two things are observed. This exercise begins with a new innovation being presented. The group is to continue expanding upon the idea by celebrating and applauding the last person's suggestions by saying yes and building from there. However, the second part of the activity replaces yes with yes/but to show why the ideas that are being presented may not be sound. The goal is to come up with as many new ideas as possible while also understanding the difference between brainstorming and analysis.
The "Mind Dumpster" brainstorming activity is used to help groups understand what each team member thinks of the problem in question. This game involves giving each member of the group their own set of colored index cards and asking them a variety of questions dealing with how they view the problem visually and how they relate to it. Afterwards, the cards are arranged and ideas are added that better address the problem.
- brainstorming image by dead_account from Fotolia.com