EFFECTIVE BRAINSTORMING: “The Know How!”

Effective brainstorming is something very near and dear to my heart as I have failed in its execution time and time again. From elementary school up to this day I have struggled with procrastination and poor time management. I have seen the downfalls of poor time management throughout the years and have finally come to the realization of the true importance of effective brainstorming and the execution of it.

If you have struggled as I have, are going through the same struggles, or desire a more effective route of planning in your work this blog post is for you.

WHAT IS BRAINSTORMING?
Brainstorming as defined by Alex Osborn is “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.”

brainstorming2 Osborn defined brainstorming as a conference technique, but in reality it is something we are all familiar with whether we are a part of the corporate world to a literature major and everything in between. As professionals brainstorming is at the root of any projects, presentations, advertisements, and blogs formed. We all know the importance of brain storming as it allows us to create entire projects in our mind utilizing something that we all inherently have; imagination.

Now before thoughts of lacking  imagination occurs; is it not true that we all have some concept of at least one ideal thing we’d like to see in our life?This is an idea and this idea is formatted from your imagination. Now that there is a foundation on what brainstorming is we can now turn to what is effective brainstorming. So just what is meant when I say effective brainstorming?

EFFECTIVE BRAINSTORMING
To define effective brainstorming we must first clarify what is not effective brainstorming! Ineffective brainstorming in reality is what many of us do, what do I mean by this stark generalization? I am stating that many of us think, but do not write down our ideas and if we do write down our ideas we do not keep them orderly or in a location to be easily seen on a daily basis.

Many of us have experience having to brainstorm and create what we have been taught to be platforms to utilize in the completion of projects and assignments having first created a layout. This layout is flawed, why? Because many of us simply did it for a grade and forget about it later on, now am I saying that it does not bear fruit for some? No, not all, but it is true that it does limit the ability to produce effective, strong ideas.

stressIneffective brainstorming is; forgetting your thoughts, not writing them down, tossing the papers with your notes wherever, not collecting the necessary data to back your ideas, refusing to be orderly and timely in turning your thoughts into action. Many times brainstorming becomes ineffective in failure to act and think of time which is crucial in completing a good work.

Effective Brainstorming

Effective brainstorming is the consideration of time and the concept of the work to be done. It is the careful consideration into the audience and the coherence that should be felt throughout the work. To truly be effective in brainstorming an understandable layout of your plans should be physically present in an area you are in often and look to often as well as detailed notes in a planner marking desired dates of completion of objectives. Effective brainstorming is realizing that brainstorming spans throughout the completion of the work.

Now knowing the difference between effective and ineffective brainstorming we can now look at the tools to practicing effective communication.
TOOLS TO EFFECTIVE BRAINSTORMING
Mind Mapping
Mindjet defines a mind map as “a diagram that mirrors the way our brains naturally processes information.”
Mind maps allow for structure of your thoughts in whatever format you desire as to give a visual aid in selecting which ideas to pursue and which to cancel as routes in completing the task.

Brain Dumping
Brain dumping despite its less than flattering name is one of the most effective strategies in brainstorming as it gives you a way to clear your mind of unproductive thoughts or concerns. We often times allow ourselves to become overloaded with thoughts and dread for the projects at hand so getting these thoughts out of mind and on to a medium allows for better concentration on planning the project and developing the ideas for the project.

Chunking
In large projects we often get overwhelmed by the massive amount of work to be done and in our attempts to wrap our minds around it crash. To avoid this crash the project should be broken down into smaller segments which are more feasible and easier to visualize so that you can effectively plan for the project in “chunks.”

Time Capsules
Capsulate your time, this means to set time limits for yourself. Train yourself to do things within short time frames over periods of time to breakdown the thought load and allow for contemplation and revisiting of thoughts.

Mind Sharing
Share your thoughts and concerns with those near you. This helps to release any stress and allows for the exchange of ideas and feedback to be obtained. The age old saying comes to mind; “I’m rubber your glue, anything you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.” In the case of mind sharing you should want to be the glue as to retain the suggestions or critiques of colleagues or friends.

♦Raise Questions
We all need clarifications at times, raising questions help us to gain definite answers as to where our thoughts should be focused and what our end objective should look like as to better visualize it.

I hope this information was helpful and you are better able to prepare effectively.

 Erin Carrington is a third year chemistry major at the University of South Florida and looks forward to completing his education to better serve the community.

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