You might have heard about brainstorming, and how it can be beneficial for you and your team to generate ideas that way. But you need to understand that it is not the right method to use every single time.
This is because there are a lot of disadvantages connected to this thought generation process apart from the advantages. These disadvantages include inefficiency to social anxiety among the people involved in the process.
So, if you are surprised to see these disadvantages and want an alternative to this idea generation technique, then you can use Brainwriting. Let’s see in detail what brainwriting is.
What is Brainwriting?
Brainwriting is an incredible alternative to brainstorming, which is a rapid idea generation technique that helps you eliminates many of the pitfalls of the traditional brainstorming meetings that we are accustomed to in our professional lives.
Here are some of the few basic steps that you use to approach brainwriting in your daily lives. They are:
- The first step of the whole process is to write down every idea that every resource has in their mind, in response to the problem or question being discussed in the meeting
- When that activity is finished, the first person will pass the paper that has the idea written on it, to the next person beside them and they will review that idea and add their idea or opinion to the paper
- Once all of the papers have made the full round around the room or the around the team members, then they will share all of the ideas that have been generated by all of them (this activity is usually performed on a whiteboard)
Let’s discuss the difference between Brainstorming and Brainwriting, and find how out how they are different from each other, and how each of them can help you and your work in their own capacity.
Brainstorming vs. Brainwriting
Generally, during a brainstorming session, everyone is talking to each other about the ideas that just came into their heads. They do this because it is the way things are done in this thinking process, but things are not done like this in a brainwriting session.
In brainwriting, there is no conversation between the team members, and everyone is quiet and focused on committing all of their ideas on paper. Only when all of the ideas have been recorded have the team members begin to discuss the responses of the group and find the solution.
The best thing about both of these techniques is that they help generate a lot of solutions for a problem, but there are some significant benefits to brainwriting over traditional brainstorming sessions as discussed below.
Advantages of Brainwriting
Here are some of the benefits that can experience if you switch from brainstorming to brainwriting in your daily workings.
- First of all, when you use brainwriting, you and your team is going to feel less social anxiety because there isn’t a sense of competition among you all in brainwriting, unlike brainstorming where everyone just shouts ideas at each other till one is accepted
- When you are giving brainwriting a go, you will notice that you and your team are going to easily avoid falling into a group-think consensus that plagues brainstorming
- This idea generation process is quite efficient as it helps you and your team to generate more and more ideas faster and seamlessly
- And lastly, when you use brainwriting, you and your team often generate more creative and diverse ideas that are very beneficial for your workings as a team and company
One thing that you have to note is that brainwriting is a more inclusive approach when it comes to idea generation, because of the way it provides equal opportunities to share their thoughts and ideas and participate in a social activity.
When you talk about traditional brainstorming, it is very easy for a vocal or a socially dominant person to dominate the whole thinking process.
This is very harmful to a team because it angers and discourages the introverted team members to be more vocal and open about their ideas.
In brainwriting, it is a different story.
How? Well, in brainwriting, as we know that you don’t voice your ideas out loud, you put them on paper. This helps the introverts to voice their concerns, ideas, and solutions related to a problem easily and more effectively.
It is also beneficial because brainwriting doesn’t focus on just one idea and highlights it, rather it listens to all of the ideas in a normal manner without any publicity.
Another advantage of brainwriting is that it helps to increase the creativity of the people involved in the thinking activity and also helps to reduce the anxiety levels of the people because they get to submit their ideas anonymously, without any fear or hesitation.
And because they are submitting their ideas anonymously, the team members are thinking more creatively and they tend to share more off-the-wall solutions that are quite ambitious for their company, but they are not impossible to pull off.
Lastly, when you talk about brainstorming, there is always a sense that it limits the quality and the variety of the different ideas being submitted to you because all of the ideas that are submitted at the start of the activity often become the center part of the conversation and nothing else matters.
This is not how things are done when it comes to brainwriting. In brainwriting, all of the ideas are considered and shared across the room, whether they were presented at the very start of the conversation or if they were mentioned at the very last.
How Brainstorming is Used?
As we discussed earlier in the article, brainwriting is quite simple where everyone writes down their insights and ideas, and shares them with the rest of the team. But just to make sure that your brainwriting session is a success every single time, you need to follow these simple steps.
1. Clarifying the Parameters and Rules of Idea Generation
The first step in this thinking process is to make sure that you explain the rules and parameters of the idea generation process that you are starting to the people participating in the activity.
One thing to remember is that this is only necessary when you need a specific type of ideas from the team members, and not when you need general answers from them.
For example, there might be a limit on the number of answers that the team members can give or they are only allowed a certain type of answers, and everything apart from that is off-limits.
2. Identifying the Questions to be Answered
The next step on the list is to make sure that if you are conducting the brainwriting session, you identify the problem that you are trying to solve or the question you want all of the participants to answer.
This activity is the prompt for the brainwriting process and you need to do that before you commence the actual brainwriting process.
3. Set a Time for Idea Admission
As the brainwriting process leader, it is your job to set a time for the people to input all of their ideas into the think tank.
Most of the brainwriting processes that happen in the organizational paradigm are short and sweet, so you can conduct smaller brainwriting processes so that the team members can input more and more ideas quickly.
4. Share All Answers in One Place
Once all of the answers and ideas are recorded, you need to share and store them all in one place. When you compile all of the answers or ideas in one place, it helps you to present them easily and have all of the information in a single place.
This was a short guide on brainwriting and how you can use it in your professional environments to generate more ideas about your business.
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