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History and use of brainstorming

The birth of brainstorming

In 1941 Alex Osborn, an advertising executive, found that conventional business meetings were inhibiting the creation of new ideas and proposed some rules designed to help stimulate them. He was looking for rules which would give people the freedom of mind and action to spark off and reveal new ideas. To "think up" was originally the term he used to describe the process he developed, and that in turn came to be known as "brainstorming". He described brainstorming as "a conference technique by which a group attempts to find a solution for a specific problem by amassing all the ideas spontaneously by its members". The rules he came up with are the following:
  • No criticism of ideas
  • Go for large quantities of ideas
  • Build on each others ideas
  • Encourage wild and exaggerated ideas
He found that when these rules were followed, a lot more ideas were created and that a greater quantity of original ideas gave rise to a greater quantity of useful ideas. Quantity produced quality.

Using these new rules, people's natural inhibitions were reduced, inhibitions which prevented them putting forward ideas which they felt might be considered "wrong" or "stupid". Osborn also found that generating "silly" ideas could spark off very useful ideas because they changed the way people thought.

As you will discover, the development of this original technique was revolutionary and has since changed our world. With increasing refinement of the process, and the introduction of creative thinking techniques, the world of easy idea generation is yours for the taking. You need never be stuck for a new idea, whether you are in a group or working by yourself.

You can read Alex Osborn's original approach in his book "Applied Imagination".

The wildfire spread of brainstorming

Since its birth in 1941, brainstorming has spread throughout the world. The technique is known to most educated managers but, sadly, is often applied ineffectually because of poor training and lack of access to quality training material. Nevertheless, it is used by nearly all of the world's largest companies and across a wide range of departments. Charities, government organizations and commercial companies all shout its praises. And this is without them knowing the advanced techniques available to them! Using the simple rules developed over 50 years ago, people are discovering new solutions to their problems and creating new opportunities to advance their companies and their own careers. It is one of the most exciting things ever to be the inventor of a world-changing product and to become the creator of the world you want to live in. Brainstorming promises you this and more.

Every single day there is a brainstorming session being run somewhere in the world. New ideas are flooding out of these sessions and society is changing because of it. Join in with the progress and make your ideas heard. With Advanced Brainstorming you don't even need a group of people to do it.

What is brainstorming used for?

Brainstorming has been used to develop the following (and this is an open-ended list!):

  • Advertising campaigns
  • Marketing strategy and methods
  • Research and Development procedures
  • Research techniques
  • Patents
  • Physical products
  • Written documents and articles
  • Services
  • Processes
  • Engineering components
  • Government policies
  • Consumer research
  • Factories
  • Management methods
  • Company structure and policy
  • Investment decisions
  • New industries
  • Better insurance policies
  • New and better ... whatever you want!

Now that you have discovered where brainstorming came from and where it is used, let's find out about what it can do for you. Click on the yellow door to continue the yellow (Brainstorming) tour or click on the house to return to the table of contents.
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