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Barnstorming with Brainstorming
Material can also be found on page 237-239 of 2007 FGS Syllabus

Very few people today take the time to formally brainstorm - do you? If it is not a valuable tool to use, you may not be following all the rules that make brainstorming work well. Please write below what you feel brainstorming is:









Brainstorming is a group creativity technique designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution to a problem…Although traditional brainstorming may not increase the productivity of groups, it has other potential benefits, such as enhancing the enjoyment of group work and improving morale. It may also serve as a useful exercise for team building.


Do you brainstorm by yourself, or do you get others involved in the process? If it’s hard to get a “good” group together to brainstorm, chances are you can improve it by adhering to the minimums. Morale must be kept up in a group and quick answers to “what’s in it for me?” are a good place to start. Regardless of how you brainstorm, it is almost always better as a group activity than isolated and individual. Good brainstorming can be accomplished by a lot of different ways; however there are some constants that are often overlooked.

Great Brainstorming Minimums


Try to have FUN

Remember, every idea is a good idea – quantity breeds quality

Never be judgmental

Encourage “give and take” but try to speak one at a time.

Record all suggestions

Make sure everyone knows the rules

Organize the session and group membership to encourage these minimums


Brainstorming Preparation

Decide if brainstorming one item or a list

Gather a group

List minimums and why they help

Get physically comfortable (temperature, munchies, etc.)

Do creative icebreaker for fun (20 questions, puzzles, etc.)

Go over format

Select recorder/secretary (if needed)

Double check to be sure all recording materials are ready (pen, paper, overhead, white board)

Explain background to get everyone brought up to speed on focus

Set time limit and goals (if not already done)

Ask for final questions

Remind all ideas are good ideas, list the focus again and begin.

Follow up - Take list and discuss or make report to group – remember to continue with the minimums!

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A standard brainstorming format (today’s case study)

Follow up will be done by group. It could be done by committee or executive/officer. If done this way, maintain positive energy - report what came of the brainstorming session to each member.

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Individual brainstorming can be very effective, but not if given a chance. Standard pitfalls of this include being negative, no time limit, too long a time limit, and too many goals. Try to have a single goal for a single session. Suggest 5-15 minutes for personal brainstorming. It is generally not effective while multi-tasking: Schedule your session time so you can disengage your mind from other needs and projects before starting; Don’t forget to write it all down; Go the extra mile to hold off your follow up until your brainstorming time is complete; Treat personal brainstorming as if you were coordinating a group – don’t short change the process. When individual brainstorming for yourself, schedule your follow up time immediately after and try to be as positive as you can.


Brainstorming is an invitation to think outside the box and be recognized for possibly off-beat thinking. We often do it informally, but rarely do we realize this is where many bright ideas come from. We’ve all been a part of negative brainstorming. Rarely does this result in the best group answer to problems (though some one may find an answer), nor does it make us want to brainstorm with anyone from that group again.


This speaker wishes all the best for every brainstorming program and also welcomes comments. Feel free to contact her by email or USPS...


Never forget your local library and reference librarian. In addition to checking with your contacts that successfully brainstorm, the internet can provide lots of suggestions, further information and alternate ideas. Online, start with Wikipedia (provided earlier), try the following (all good links as of 6-5-07), and conduct your own searches:

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Case Study Notes


Membership Acquisition Ideas

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Page Last Updated November 11, 2015

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