The Brainstorm technique is focused on generating as many ideas as possible in a group of people. At this time quantity and diversity are more important than the quality of ideas. Participants achieve this by first coming up with ideas individually, and then sharing and discussing them. This discussion often generates new ideas.
The problem definition is the starting point of this brainstorm session.
Participants first get to work individually with the problem definition. What could be the cause of the problem? We are supposed to be creative and look further than just ‘logical explanations’.
The ideas are collected and merged in the LeanCoach tool. Draw up a yellow sticky note for each idea; you can use the table input to do this. Yellow sticky notes contain space for commentary and an author.
Now we continue the brainstorm session in the group. We cluster the yellow sticky notes based on affinity. Individual ideas often bring up new ideas in others. These are added on new yellow sticky notes.
So far, every step has been focused on collecting as many ideas as possible. In this last step we are going to make choices. Which yellow sticky notes (potential causes) do we want to investigate more thoroughly? Flag these yellow sticky notes. Flagging yellow sticky notes is done in group context. Please try to keep an open mind and consider the diversity of ideas. Every cluster with yellow sticky notes should be flagged at least once. After group consultation, less relevant ideas are filtered out in this phase.
Tips and best practices
Prior to the brainstorm session, make a time schedule for the different phases.
Make sure you put together a good, mixed group of participants, with fundamental knowledge of the process and the problem. The ideal group size is 6 to 8 (maximum 12) people.
Doing both a brainstorm session and applying the Fishbone technique is often unnecessary. Make a practical choice between these techniques.
Do you want to get started with Lean? Try using BiZZdesign LeanCoach. It’s free until 31 January 2014! More information and downloads: www.bizzdesign.com/lean