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Commentary on 7 Steps for Effective Brainstorming

In a LifeHacker post from yesterday, Thorin Klosowski proposes A Seven Step Plan for Effective Brainstorming:

  1. Define the problem and solutions space
  2. Break the problem down
  3. Make the problem personal
  4. Seek the perspectives of outsiders
  5. Diverge before you converge
  6. Create “idea resumes”
  7. Create a plan to learn

The substance, and rough order of this is very, very good. However, I believe “Make the problem personal” is too high on the list.

Many technically minded people grab onto the first reasonable problem and first reasonable solution they come across, and are also worse than non-technical types at putting themselves in the shoes of others. To overcome these vision-constraining traits, let’s re-order the list, and throw in one other change:

  1. Define the problem and solutions space
  2. Break the problem down
  3. Seek the perspectives of outsiders
  4. Diverge before you converge
  5. Create “idea resumes”
  6. Goto Step 2 and iterate until you have created a vision and a plan that gets the attention of the above outsiders and has at least one significant USP
  7. Make the problem personal
  8. Create a plan to learn

The two key changes here are adding the iteration at step 6, and postponing making it personal until you can empathize with and understand the outsiders’ problems. Once you truly understand their problems, then it’s the appropriate time to internalize it to the point you feel passionate about the subject.

Posted in Delighting Customers, Innovation, Leadership.


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