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    • Brainstorming

    • Brainstorming is an organized process for generating a list of ideas about an issue or process. Brainstorming sessions may take several hours. These sessions are used to:  

      • Identify all issues
      • Understand and clarify the process
      • Generate potential solutions or action plans
      • Data collection issues

      The major steps in effective brainstorming sessions are: 

      1. Explain the subject of the brainstorming session to the team. The topic can be sent out before the meeting to get thinking started. If shared for the first time at the start of the meeting, let participants have two to three minutes to think about it.

      2. Set a time limit. Depending on the complexity of the issue, the brainstorming session may take one to four hours; however, it is not unusual to have several consecutive brainstorming topics/exercises during a quality improvement project.

      3. Identify a note taker to list the ideas on a flip chart, or have people write their ideas on index cards or post-it notes.

      4. Participants call out one idea at a time. This can be done by going around the table, which structures participation, or at random, which favors greater creativity. Another option is to go around the table once and then open discussion up to all to call out ideas Keep the team going when ideas slow down; but it is okay to let a participant pass if an idea does not come quickly. There should be no discussion or criticism during this session; the goal is to identify all the ideas and issues. The evaluation of the ideas, issues, and plans comes later.

      5. Build and expand on ideas; think fresh and encourage creativity. Use the rule that there are no bad ideas. Refrain from historical reminiscences about what may have been tried in the past.

      Once all the ideas have been shared, eliminate duplicates. If a large number of ideas has been generated, have the team organize them into thematic clusters.