Using Brainstorming for Problem Solving

Do you want to actually solve your business challenges & move beyond “just fix it”?

Previously, I’ve shared with you a 3 step problem solving process, when “Just fix it” isn’t working. I also gave you tools to use in the 1st step “Understand the Problem”

In today’s post, I’m going to give you 2 more tools – one to use in each of step 2 & 3.

Brainstorming is a tool used in the 2nd step “Generate Ideas” to generate as many ideas as you can to solve your problem.

Brainstorming combines a relaxed, informal approach while encouraging people to come up with thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit crazy.

Now I know that all of you are thinking “I know how to brainstorm”, but there are 4 tips you can use to make it more effective.

The 1st tip is Prepare the Group

Appoint 1 person to record every idea that comes from the session. Have flip charts or whiteboards for notes.

Remind everyone that brainstorming is to generate ideas. In doing this, they should avoid criticizing, rewarding, or judging the ideas.

Tip #2 is Present the situation

Use & review the problem solving statement, flowchart, & 5 Why from “Understand the Problem”. Make it clear that the meeting’s objective is to generate as many ideas as possible for solutions to the problem.

Tip #3 is Guide the discussion

Allow a few minutes for silent brainstorming so everyone can think, ponder, & get some ideas down. Record ideas exactly as they are stated while encouraging piggybacking on ideas.

Tip #4 is Reduce the list

Ask for clarification & approval to combine like ideas. For each item, ask “should this continue to be considered?

Now that you have completed step 2, Generate Ideas, you need to move to the 3rd step “Plan for Action”.

You have all these solutions. How do you determine which solution/solutions to go after first?