A common way to generate new business ideas is through brainstorming. In general, brainstorming is simply the process of generating several ideas about a specific topic. The approaches range from a person sitting down with a yellow legal pad and jotting down interesting business ideas to formal “brainstorming sessions” led by moderators that involve a group of people.

In a formal brainstorming session, the leader of the group asks the participants to share their ideas. One person shares an idea, another person reacts to it, another person reacts to the reaction, and so on. A flip chart or an electric whiteboard is typically used to record all the ideas. A productive session is freewheeling and lively. The session is not used for analysis or decision making- the ideas generated during a brainstorming session need to be filtered and analyzed, but this is done later. There are four strict rules for conducting a formal brainstorming session:

  1. No criticism is allowed, including chuckles, raised eyebrows, or facial expressions that express skepticism or doubt. Criticism stymies creativity and inhabits the free flow of ideas.
  2. Freewheeling, which is the carefree expression if ideas free from rules of restraints, is encouraged; the more ideas, the better. Even crazy or outlandish ideas may lead to a good idea or a solution to a problem.
  3. The session moves quickly, and nothing is permitted to slow down its pace. For example, it is more important to capture the essence of an idea than to take the time to write it down neatly.
  4. Leapfrogging is encouraged. This means using one idea as a means of jumping forward quickly to other ideas.

Brainstorming is in social psychology it refers to the free generation of ideas by the members of a group for the purpose of solving a specific problem.

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