Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to come up with a good solution to a problem? One of the simplest but most effective ways to find the right solution to almost any problem is to have a short brainstorming session. Stay with me – brainstorming is a simple, but very effective way to find solutions to difficult problems. How do I do this? Will it really help? Follow these three steps to finding the right solution:
1. Identify and Write down the problem that you need to solve
Step 1 might seem like a no-brainer but simply writing down the problem or challenge that you need to solve in a sentence will help bring clarity as you look for solutions.
2. Brainstorm and write down 10 possible ways forward.
Once you are clear on exactly what problem needs to be solved, begin thinking and writing down every possible solution or way forward. You may initially only have two or three ideas, but press on until you have ten possible solutions. Make sure to include even farfetched or seemingly ridiculous ideas. Brainstorming is about quantity over quality. Don’t make the mistake of stopping to assess whether or not one of your ideas is a good solution or not. You’re trying to come up with every potential and possible solution so you have a wide range of options. When it is time to finally make the decision, Having 10 different options in front of you will allow you to think outside of the box and not be bound by thinking that there are only two ways forward. Sometimes your best way forward will come through brainstorming many possible solutions.
Brainstorming as a Team
Brainstorming also works well for teams when looking for solutions in your organization. When brainstorming as a team, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a dumb suggestion. List as many possible solutions as possible without pronouncing any moral judgment on any of the potential solutions. Your goal is quantity over quality.
2. Look at your big list of possible solutions and choose the top three
After your initial brainstorming session, you now have a wide range of potential solutions. Now that Negativity and Pessimism have now been banished, you can begin to narrow your list down to the top three solutions. If you are doing this as a team, decide together the three best ways forward in solving the issue.
3. Consider each of your top three solutions and choose what you believe to be the best path forward.
Brainstorming is a funnel-like process where a person or team starts with as many ideas as possible without giving moral credibility to any of them. After the initial process, you are funneling down to the best solution. Moving from a wide variety of ideas, to the top three, then finalizing your choice will assure you that you have considered all options and have selected the best option that you can see.
The beauty of brainstorming is that it frees us from seeing only limited options and exposes us to the true wide variety of options that we have.