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Brainstorming and SWOT Analysis

Steven Bonacorsi

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SWOT Analysis Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a term used to describe a creative thinking session. The aim is to gather as many ideas and possible solutions to a problem as possible. The results will depend entirely on the reason for the brainstorming session and the group of people participating.

Exploring Ideas:

Start with the first idea and ask “If we do this, what results/problems can we expect?"

Write each problem or result on the whiteboard. If further information is required, then note it and assign it to a person for further investigation, determine a deadline.

Next ask “To implement this, what do we need to do?" write all tasks on the board.

It helps to split the board into three sections: Problems, Results, and Tasks.

Once you have completed the process for each idea, and then write an action plan and a follow up session.

The aim is to get ideas and viewpoints from various angles and to explore each one further

Brainstorming Preparation

Determine the group of people that should attend, if possible include at least one person from each department and all the possible stakeholders and decision makers. The group should not be limited to upper management, sometimes the best ideas come from the workers.

A Leader should be appointed to manage the process and maintain control of the session. Appoint a person to make notes and gather the information. Determine the session duration and issue invitations.

The room should be set out so that it has a relaxed atmosphere; preferably the seating should be in a circular fashion or gathered around a table, depending on the size of the group. Encourage people to walk around and feel relaxed. Provide a whiteboard, note paper, pens, coffee and anything else that may encourage a relaxed session.

The observations in each category can be ranked in order of importance

Brainstorming Session

Discuss the reason for the session and clearly define the objective or problem. Ensure that all participants agree to the objective and understand the required outcome. Write the objective as a heading on the whiteboard, this will assist to keep everyone “on track" during the session.

Set the rules of the session: There should be no criticism or ridiculing of any ideas, keep on track, avoid lengthy discussions on the pros and cons of an idea, this will be done later during the investigation phase.

Encourage everyone to participate and respect each other's ideas. The Session Leader should ensure that the rules are followed and no idea is ridiculed, criticized or labeled as silly.

Commence by asking individuals to provide their thoughts/ideas and write each one on the whiteboard. You will probably find that once a few ideas have been noted, the rest will flow.

Once all ideas have been noted, then it is time to explore each one further. Group any ideas that are similar to others

Ideally you aim to have 5-10 ideas to investigate further

Brainstorming Action Plan

The action plan should include a summary of each idea, a list of further investigation requirements, who they are assigned to and deadlines.

If an idea can be implemented immediately, then it should include the tasks, who they are assigned to and deadlines.

Brainstorming sessions are excellent tools to solve problems and determine further opportunities. A brainstorming session can be done on an individual basis successfully, however a group session will allow for different viewpoints from all areas.

A Successful Brainstorming Session Will End With a Solid Action Plan to Be Followed

Steven Bonacorsi is a Senior Master Black Belt instructor and coach. Steven Bonacorsi has trained hundreds of Master Black Belts, Black Belts, Green Belts, and Project Sponsors and Executive Leaders in Lean Six Sigma DMAIC and Design for Lean Six Sigma process improvement methodologies.

The AIT Group, Inc.
Steven Bonacorsi, Solution Provider
Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt
3135 South Price Road, Suite 115
Chandler, AZ 85248-3549
Phone: (1) 888.826.2484


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