At first glance, brainstorming seems like ice, in that you really don’t need an instruction manual to make it.
But that is clearly not the case, as Chauncey Wilson writes in Brainstorming and Beyond: A User-Centered Design Method.
The book shows that brainstorming can be most successful and productive when the facilitator knows the proper techniques for getting the most out of the participant’s brains.
Wilson shows how brainstorming is more than just getting people in a room with a large supply of Post-It notes and markets. He writes that brainstorming is often portrayed as simple with only a few rules. But as you read through the book, he details that brainstorming is a complex social process requiring knowledge of social psychology, motivation and corporate culture.
Wilson defines brainstorming as an individual or group method for generating idea, increasing creative efficacy or finding solutions to problems.
The goal of a brainstorming session is to generate ideas. The book details how to extract those ideas from participants in brainstorming sessions. The book also details two other similar concepts: brainwriting and braindrawing.
Brainwriting is a variation on brainstorming in which each person writes ideas down on paper and then passes the paper to a new person who reads the first set of ideas and adds new ones.
Braindrawing is a more visual method of brainstorming that helps generate ideas where the function is more illustrative than conceptual.
At 75 pages, Brainstorming and Beyond: A User-Centered Design Method is a quick read, and of value to anyone who plans on using brainstorming to the most effective level possible.