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Three vital steps for productive brainstorming

The term “brainstorming” does not mean a group of people conjuring up ideas about something. Rather, according to the New York Times, October 28, 2006 at C5, brainstorming in its true form is a rigidly structured process (See my post of Nov. 28, 2005 on mind-mapping software and brainstorming). That process demands three vital elements.

First, the group needs a facilitator trained in drawing out the best ideas. “Groups using a facilitator come up with 600 percent more ideas that those that don’t,” according to Scott Isaksen, founder of the Creative Problem Solving Group.

Second, brainstormers need clear guidelines. “For example, the session will last no more than 45 minutes and criticism or judgment of the ideas that emerge should wait until the session is over.”

Third, brainstormers should prepare in advance for the session. You don’t just walk into the room and storm your brain. Law departments would do well to follow these recommendations.

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