Following the course Technology Entrepreneurship Part 1 from Stanford University and the excellent introductory (for the time) lectures, I stumbled upon the Brainstorming issue.

Brainstorming is a group or individual creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its member(s). The term was popularized by Alex Faickney Osborn in the 1953 book Applied Imagination. Osborn claimed that brainstorming was more effective than individuals working alone in generating ideas, although more recent research has questioned this conclusion. Today, the term is used as a catch all for all group ideation sessions.


Altough brainstrorming is a huge area for discussion, the specific lecture proposed its own approach about the matter. I will be brief as the original lecture was. Here it is.

Capturing Ideas.

You need to be really careful how you do it. Usually we are in a room with more people and there is one who writes on the board. This is like show stopper. He writes and that usually blocks the rest of the people presenting their ideas it does not help people from simultaneously writing down ideas and in the end it is gonna generate fewer ideas in total.
What should we do? Everyone writes! Even better you could actually run an individual brainstorming session prior of the group meeting. Then come to group and evaluate your ideas.

Frame the problem

If question/problem is narrow then you will get narrow set of ideas.
If on the other side it is too big, then it is difficult to come up with concrete ideas.
What should we do? Go to the middle!

Why not…..

Separate the idea generation phase from the idea evaluation phase…

A nice solution is to separate the idea generation phase and the idea evaluation phase in:

  • time or
  • different meetings

So initially generate, as many new ideas as possible and only that! Do not criticize, do not drop ideas, just write each and every one of them.
Next phase… evaluate! Seems that groups are much better at evaluating ideas.

How do you usually brainstorm?

George Psistakis

I love technology and working with people. That is why I am trying to offer as much as I can at the local startup ecosystem and at the same time building Apirise. A platform to reduce time and effort required to integrate and maintain APIs. Simply, fast and efficiently!
I am co-organizer of the Agile Greece and API Athens meetups and I contribute at the Developer Economics Blog.

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