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Effective BrainStorming (EBS)

January 31, 2020

Brainstorming is one of the most popular creative instruments for problem-solving. The simplest method is unstructured brainstorming. The process is easy. We collect different ideas (tasks) for validation. The more the number of ideas, the more the probability of getting the correct or at least the most effective solution.

brainstorming session in action

People believe that if they generate a huge number of ideas, they will be able to find the solution to the problem. 

Generally speaking, it is correct. However, the question is how to choose the right idea or task.

people support their own ideas

What is the problem with brainstorming as we know it?

Even though brainstorming is a well-known, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-execute process, the only way to find the best option that can really solve the problem is to try them all. This is very long, ineffective, and, as you can imagine, it can become an extremely expensive process.

We could solve this issue by prioritizing the options. But traditionally, the method for prioritizations is to brainstorm again. At that point, participants of the brainstorming session are biased towards their own ideas since this is what they proposed and believe in as the best option.

PRIZ Innovation platform offers a tool for Effective Brainstorming. How does it work?

Collections of ideas

The beginning of the process is a traditional – ideas collection. Each idea is described on a sticker and kept on the board.

Choosing the right idea or a task

The next step is a grouping of ideas. Implement – “easy” or “not easy” and Validate – “easy” or “not easy” should be assigned for each idea. By clicking “Enable Sorting” each sticker with idea will be redistributed into one of the four groups:

“Implementation – easy & Validation – easy”

“Implementation – easy & Validation – not easy”

“Implementation – not easy & Validation – easy”

“Implementation – not easy & Validation – not easy”

In the case of more than 2 stickers in one group, the ranking within the group can be completed with  Round Robin Ranking (RRR).

The ideas were collected, grouped, and ranked. The priority management becomes clear.

The Effective Brainstorming approach developed and supported by the PRIZ Innovation Platform forces thinking and analysis of each idea, again and again, that ensures the effectiveness of the process.

As part of the PRIZ Innovation Platform, we developed and implemented the concept of Effective Brainstorming (EBS). This process is very similar to the traditional one that we described above, with a slight change in how we group and prioritize collected options (tasks or ideas).

We can achieve better and unbiased prioritization results by using relevant creative thinking tools and specifically Round Robin Ranking (RRR). As we described in a number of previous posts, the main concept of RRR is to compare the options in pairs. This way, we can reduce psychological inertia and enable unbiased decision-making. Once the ranking is complete, we can start validating the options from the ones with the highest rank. Given our and our client’s experience, in 90% of cases, the working group will find a solution with the first 3 – 5 options.

One can argue that it is not effective enough as it is not the first, and he will be correct. However, the solution will never be the last option, as it usually happens by Murphy’s Law.

The suggested process will evidently save time and money.

Let’s summarize by example

Imagine yourself that you are working with a group of co-workers on a project trying to solve a problem. Some examples might be:

  • Troubleshoot equipment or process
  • Resolve an excursion in manufacturing
  • Improve yield of a process
  • Reduce process cost
  • Make the process faster and more efficient
  • Manage risk
  • And so on…

The brainstorming can be performed as follows:

  1. Create a working group of experts in the subject
  2. Facilitate the group to generate ideas/tasks to achieve the desired target. You may do it in different ways:
    • Invite members into a conference room and generate ideas/tasks as a group
    • Send a request by email and collect the answers
    • A project manager as a single person can generate ideas/tasks himself
  3. In the PRIZ Innovation Platform, the brainstorming tool collects the ideas/tasks into the task manager for grouping, ranking, and validation management. We can rank all the tasks from within the task manager, and the ranking result will update the priority of your tasks.
  4. Start the validation from the very first task in the group (the one with the highest priority rank).

Brainstorming and be effective as it is easy when you use the right tools.

LOGIN to PRIZ Innovation Platform and start your project.

Leave A Comment

  • AffiliateLabz
    February 15, 2020

    Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

  • Marc Cocchiola
    February 21, 2020

    Do you use an impact/difficulty matrix of any type?

    • Anatoly
      February 23, 2020

      Many thanks for your comment. No, we do not, but it sounds very interesting. Could you please give some more explanations about such matrix usage? We would be glad to publish your explanation in our blogs page.

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