Brain Food: Crash course in ... brainstorming

Your business needs some bright ideas. Everyone's got their head down for much of the time and the spark of creativity has turned into a damp squib. Maybe it's time to try a spot of brainstorming.

by Alexander Garrett

It's not just for neophytes. Far from being a recent invention, brainstorming, according to Wikipedia, was originated in 1953 by advertising exec Alex F Osborn in his book Applied Imagination. For the politically correct, it's a 'thought shower'.

What's your problem? Brainstorming can be used to address both problems and opportunities, says Peter Clayton, director of Infinite Innovations and its website www. brainstorming.co.uk. 'The main thing is to have a clear understanding of what you're trying to achieve through your brainstorm.' The technique is for ideating rather than decision-making, and it's useful for creating concepts and picking identifying names.

Pick your brains. According to the Design Council, groups should ideally consist of between six and 10 people. It may not be practical for people to shout out their ideas within a larger group. The more diverse the individuals, though, the better.

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