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How to introduce and use Creative Thinking techniques in brainstorming sessions

Ideally, all the participants in your brainstorming sessions should know about the creative thinking techniques available to them. This should be easy to arrange by pointing them to this website or by purchasing a licence to use this website on your own computer, your internal network or by arranging training sessions. (Note that you may not access the contents of this website off-line without a licence.) Alternatively, you can gradually introduce people to the various creative thinking techniques during a series of sessions.

After you have introduced everyone to the brainstorming rules you should then tell them that you will be introducing some fresh stimuli into the session using the Advanced Brainstorming techniques. You will be asking everyone to brainstorm ideas using the stimulus as a starting point for ideas. Instead of only using other people's ideas to stimulate them you will be throwing in original stimuli to spark off new ideas. The stimuli will make it a lot easier to see solutions from a different angle because the starting point will be more original.

You may want to include some training in some of the techniques.

The next thing you need is something to provide you with the creative thinking stimulus. This will be one of the advanced brainstorming tools discussed in the next section: using either brainstorming computer software or manually producing a stimulus.

However you get your stimulus, you should always be ready to get another one as necessary. You will need a stimulus at the start of the process and you will need more to restart the process when it dries up. Be careful to make sure people use the actual stimulus whatever it is and you should not give out another stimulus too quickly. The harder it is to use a particular stimulus the more radical and interesting the solutions could be.

In a warm up session, or for a change from the normal situation, you should produce the stimuli quickly one after the other to encourage faster thinking and less analysis, but generally you should let the process finish naturally before giving a new stimulus.

Encourage people to discuss the ideas surrounding the stimulus but try to stop the discussions which are leading away from the it (unless the ideas generated are obviously leading to a beneficial solution). Try to encourage suggestions which are related in some way, as this will force people to really think about the stimulus as it was presented, and not to bring the thinking round to solutions aready presented.

Try out various techniques with your groups. Some people prefer certain techniques and find they work well for them. Some people are stimulated by words, other by pictures. Experiment with each technique and use those which work well for you. Remember to use the other techniques occasionally because the change will be good for your thinking.

The next part of this training is to show you the various tools themselves. Some you can buy, others you can do manually for free.

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