Aim of brainstorming is to create different ideas, even crazy ones. Activity can take anything between 1 and 2 hours.
First, a mentor explains the rules of brainstorming in a short keynote. Show the students how other people brainstorm, how brainstorming is being used in the world of advertising, art and engineering.
In short, brainstorming is a group activity where participants work together to generate many ideas quickly and without judgment. Students stimulate each other’s thinking, build on each other ideas, merge ideas etc. Students should be aware of the rules and first openly discuss what is brainstorming and what is not.
The don’ts of brainstorming:
1) Don’t judge. Take every idea as it is.
2) Don’t comment. Just shoot more ideas.
3) Don’t edit ideas. Let them be.
4) Don’t execute. Plenty of time for that later!
5) Don’t worry. Tell even the worst idea that comes to your mind.
6) Don’t look backward. What’s your next idea?
7) Don’t lose focus. Stop talking about lunch break. Yes, you!
8) Don’t sap energy.
9) Don’t compare ideas. They are not there yet.
10) Don’t make fun of others. It will surely shut them down.
When you proceed to an actual brainstorming exercise, use post-it notes.
Each idea should be on a separate post it note.
When the storming phase is over, take a break. When students come back give them 30 minutes to reflect on the ideas, affinity map them and choose the best ones.
Lastly: Presentation. Each group presents their best ideas and receives feedback from both, the mentor and other students.
Sources and additional readings:
- Power point about brainstorming (ppt)