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Idea Generation, Ideation, Creative Thinking


What is Brainstorming?

Brainstorming is a method used to generate creative ideas and solve problems. It involves a group of people, typically between four to ten, who are encouraged to think freely and propose as many ideas as possible. The technique is based on the principle that more ideas lead to the best idea.

How does Brainstorming work?

Brainstorming sessions are often facilitated by a leader who presents a problem or question, and the participants then suggest as many ideas as they can. The key rules of brainstorming are that criticism is not allowed, and participants are encouraged to think wildly and propose out-of-the-box ideas. Participants are also encouraged to build on the ideas of others, fostering a collaborative environment.

Why is Brainstorming important?

Brainstorming is a critical component of the innovation process. It encourages diversity of thought, fosters a culture of openness, and can lead to breakthrough ideas that may not have emerged through traditional problem-solving methods. It is also an effective way to engage teams, promote collaboration, and build a sense of ownership and commitment towards the solution.

Usage Examples

1. A product development team uses brainstorming to generate new product ideas.
2. An operations team uses brainstorming to identify ways to improve efficiency.
3. A marketing team uses brainstorming to come up with campaign concepts.

Historical Context

Brainstorming was first formalized as a creativity technique by Alex Osborn, an advertising executive, in the 1950s. He believed that a group could develop better ideas than individuals working alone, and he developed brainstorming as a systematic method for groups to generate ideas.


  • Brainstorming is not just about generating as many ideas as possible, but also about fostering a culture of openness and collaboration.
  • Brainstorming is not always the best method for every situation. It is most effective when used as part of a broader problem-solving process.


  • Brainstorming vs. Mind Mapping: While both are creativity techniques, brainstorming is a group activity aimed at idea generation, while mind mapping is a visual tool used to structure information, often used by individuals.
  • Brainstorming vs. Brainwriting: In brainstorming, ideas are spoken and shared, while in brainwriting, ideas are written down and then shared.

Related Concepts

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