International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

What is brainstorming?

Brainstorming is the rapid generation and listing of solution ideas without clarification and without evaluation of their merits. Brainstorming works best with a varied group of people. Participants should come from a range of disciplines and have different backgrounds. Even in specialist areas, outsiders can bring fresh ideas that can inspire the experts.

A brainstorming session requires a facilitator, a relaxed environment and something on which to write ideas, such as a white-board or a flip chart. The facilitator's responsibilities include guiding the session, encouraging participation and writing ideas down.

Initial brainstorming encourages a quantity of solutions rather than quality; the clearly inappropriate solutions can be eliminated in subsequent discussion. Brainstorming produces a creative flow of ideas uninterrupted by critical reflection.  The “Golden rules” of brainstorming are shown here.