Brainstorming is an activity intended to generate new creative ideas to solve a specific problem. It is a freewheeling group discussion that attempts to find a solution by gathering numerous ideas from the participants. Because of the free-thinking environment, the session helps promote creative out-of-the-box ideas which break free from normal ways of thinking. An analysis and critic of the proposed ideas is conducted only after the brainstorming is over.
In a brainstorming session, every participant is encouraged to think aloud and spontaneously come up with as many ideas as possible, no matter how outlandish or crazy it may seem. The participants shout out ideas as they occur to them. All the ideas are noted and are not criticized or judged. Criticism and judgment of ideas are only allowed when the brainstorming session is over. This is to allow people to think outside-the-box and freely suggest any idea that may seem even remotely possible.
The purpose of the session is to obtain as many ideas as possible for later analysis. Therefore, people should build on the ideas suggested by other participants.
The creative potential of mind mapping (also known as Concept Mapping) is particularly useful for brainstorming. By presenting ideas in an intuitive, graphical, and non-linear manner, mind maps encourage a brainstorming approach to generating ideas and creating connections.
This approach encourages you to enumerate and connect concepts without beginning with a specific conceptual framework. As you create a mind map, you are able to branch out in various directions and make connections between the branches. You can further divide the ideas into more related ideas with additional lines.
Creating mind maps helps put together information in a way that reveals relationships with new information. You start with the basic problem as the center, and then generate ideas to obtain at a large number of different possible solutions. You can draw lines from the ideas to other possible solutions related to your idea.
Since it is a system that taps into the way the brain naturally functions, you find that mind mapping puts you in touch with your true creative potential, and that you can generate and organize ideas at a very fast pace. Using color, symbols, and images also helps to stimulate imagination.