Today the subject is “Brainstorming,” and why it is not worth your time and effort.
I read the following headline today in the Detroit Free Press:
“Hundreds of people concerned about the ailing state economy came to the University of Michigan on Tuesday to brainstorm ideas on how to increase Michigan's role in the global economic environment.” (qg says ...why then do we have a department in Lansing that is supposed to know how to increase and improve our state economy - if they can't ---> get rid of them).
Most problems are not solved automatically by the first idea that comes to mind. To get to the best solution it is important to consider many possible solutions. One of the best ways to do this is called brainstorming. Brainstorming is the act of defining a problem or idea and coming up anything related to the topic - no matter how remote a suggestion may sound. All of these ideas are recorded and evaluated only after the brainstorming is completed.
It is a means of aiming to facilitate problem solving through the maxim quantity breeds quality. The greater the number of ideas generated, the greater the chance of producing a radical and effective solution.
- In a small or large group select a leader and a recorder (they may be the same person).
- Define the problem or idea to be brainstormed. Make sure everyone is clear on the topic being explored.
- Set up the rules for the session. They should include:
* Letting the leader have control.
* Allowing everyone to contribute.
* Ensuring that no one will insult, demean, or evaluate another participant or her response.
* Stating that no answer is wrong.
* Recording each answer unless it is a repeat.
* Setting a time limit and stopping when that time is up.
- Start the brainstorming. Have the leader select members of the group to share their answers. The recorder should write down all responses, if possible so everyone can see them. Make sure not to evaluate or criticize any answers until done brainstorming.
- Once you have finished brainstorming, go through the results and begin evaluating the responses. Some initial qualities to look for when examining the responses include:
* Looking for any answers that are repeated or similar.
* Grouping like concepts together.
* Eliminating responses that definitely do not fit.
* Now that you have narrowed your list down some, discuss the remaining responses as a group.
Brainstorming has many applications but it is most frequently used in:
Problem Solving - issues, root causes, alternative solutions, impact analysis, evaluation
Process Management - finding ways of improving business and production processes
Project Management - identifying client objectives, risks, deliverables, work packages, resources, roles and responsibilities, tasks, issues
Team Building - generates sharing and discussion of ideas while stimulating participants to think
qualityg says … If your PI Consultants or Management Team have no idea on how to capture problems or generate sound solutions then you are in big time trouble. Using subjective ideas and information (Brainstorming) for possible solutions is WRONG and more than likely will result in “Tampering (special vs. common cause)” and “Sub-Optimizing your processes/systems.
Forget about the feel good of giving all employees a chance to participate in decision-making. You better be gathering/monitoring your processes to tell you where problems are located with objective data and information (including subject-matter experts).
Look again at the steps above, do you really want to waste time, resources and dollars making suggestions that may or may not have any value to your current situation. Once the team generates these probable ideas/solutions then they go out and try to collect data to justify their conclusions.
How stupid is that? Sounds to me your Consultant and Management Team have no idea what they are doing, and that does not surprise me!