guidelinesThe brainstorm facilitator should explain the following guidelines to the participants – and, indeed, put headline summaries of them up on the wall where people can see them.

1. Suspend Judgement – No Idea Is A Bad Idea

No idea is bad – at least at the initial “brain-dump” stage of the process. Everyone, including the facilitator, should therefore put judgement aside, and encourage ideas of all shapes and sizes, both sensible and silly. Anything, and everything goes, often the sillier the better.

2. Aim For Lots Of Ideas

‘The best way to get an idea’, reckoned Linus Pauling, the double Nobel Laureate, ‘is to get a lot of ideas’. So, aim to generate a load of ideas – as many as possible, regardless of quality. Editing and selection can come later.

3. Relax And Enjoy It

Aim to create a supportive, informal and fun atmosphere, in which participants feel they can relax and shed their inhibitions, instead of worrying that they risk sounding foolish or looking stupid by suggesting any particular idea.

4. Go With The Flow – Piggyback On Each Other’s Ideas

The facilitator should encourage participants to freewheel and build on each other’s ideas, letting one idea spark or lead to another. Doing so not only leads to more and better ideas but also fosters a sense of collaboration and group ownership of the ideas