Brainstorming is a technique to boost creativity popularized by Alex Osborn in his 1948 book Your Creative Power. He held group-thinking sessions in his advertising agency and saw a significant improvement in the quantity and quality of ideas although some research has actually disproved the idea that group brainstorming generates more ideas than individuals working alone. In my day job, I am a Facilitative Leadership trainer, which is a framework used in business to get maximum appropriate involvement from stakeholders. We taught brainstorming techniques and interventions for groups to help generate ideas and legitimize all the participants’ contributions.
I have done quite a bit of brainstorming over the last week, but not in the formal style that I teach in Facilitative Leadership. The bulk of the brainstorming was very informal group-style at RWA. On Friday night, six of the Eight sat in my hotel room eating pizza, raiding the minibar, and talking about our stories (and the sessions, the McDaniel certificate program, YouTube videos, blogging, etc.). One day, four of the Eight grabbed an empty breakout room and talked about the ending of Justine’s book 1 and the start of her book 2.
Elizabeth and I attended Sarah MacLean’s conflict session at RWA (which was fabulous – that woman has great external and internal conflict locks – try Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake for an excellent example). I got some new ideas to help move Genny and Luke’s story along and fix some of the broken parts. At lunch, Justine, Jeanne, Elizabeth, and I batted around ideas for changes I want to make and Elizabeth and I kept it going on our stroll over to the Alamo that afternoon. We didn’t always agree on the ideas generated and I found the disagreements to be very helpful in deciding if the idea should stay or go.
At dinner on Thursday night, I related a story about my daughter, a horse, and a jogger. Jeanne turned to me and said, “That is a great first scene for a rom com.” When I got home from the conference on Sunday, I related that to my daughter. Last night we brainstormed the characters and the conflict for a new adult rom com about a young woman, a horse, and a jogger.
There are a lot of other ways to generate ideas, like freewriting, listing, cubing, and mapping. I am doing some freewriting to refine some of the ideas for Genny and Luke that were generated at RWA. What are some ways that you generate new ideas?