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How to Brainstorm

Most of us are familiar with brainstorming. Students practice it in school, and it is a popular technique in business environments. Brainstorming is used in lateral or divergent thinking and helps boost creative thinking. Individual brainstorming can be effective in your personal or business life. Following the tips in this chapter will help improve brainstorming and divergent thinking to increase creativity.

Generate A Lot of Ideas

Brainstorming does not require self-editing. The point is to generate as many ideas as possible. When you place the focus on the number of ideas rather than whether they are good or not, your mind will make connections that it normally would not when you do not place restrictions on it. You should write down every idea that comes to you. Before you brainstorm, choose a quiet place, and limit distractions. Focus on the problem that you need to address and begin writing. This technique may be familiar from free writing exercises in writing classes, where you write as many ideas as possible without changing anything that you write.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping can be done after ideas have been generated. Also known as concept mapping and spider mapping, the technique is use to organise information and ideas in the way that they relate to each other. You may write your own map or use software to help you map your ideas.

Begin by identifying the main ideas or concepts and arrange them. Next, connect the other ideas to the main concepts that they relate to using lines and linking words or descriptions. The map will continue to grow and does not have to end. It is possible that you will think of new ideas as you create the map.

Visualisation

Visualisation is a useful technique in different areas of life. In brainstorming sessions, visualisation requires envisioning ideas that are brainstormed. You must visualise the different solutions to determine which ones will work best.

Steps:

  • Choose an idea or solution: Visualisation needs to be specific.
  • Relax: Find a time and place to relax and focus on visualisation techniques.
  • Visualise: Picture the future in detail, and visualize it happening in the present down to the last detail.

After visualising an idea, you should have a better idea about their effectiveness and suitability. You will be able to cross some ideas off your list after you visualise them.

Organise and Bring Ideas Together

The final step in the brainstorming process is to organize your ideas and bring them together. It is usually best to step away from the brainstorming before organising your ideas. Take the ideas from the concept map that survived the visualisation process and consider the best way to organise them. Consider how they are connected and if any of them can be combined into new ideas. Then, create a list of ideas to help guide you in the future. It is important that you do not limit yourself to these ideas; you should add to them regularly.

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