KM Tools – A New Twist To Brainstorming

Brainstorming is an effective KM tool to help an organization collaborate, innovate, and create new knowledge, but like any tool it isn’t perfect.

KM Tools - BrainstormingThe MIT Sloan Management Review’s Leslie Brokaw recently wrote a post titled “Diverge Before You Converge”: Tips for Creative Brainstorming which tackles the classic brainstorming challenge of ensuring everyone’s ideas are considered. Too often brainstorming sessions get dominated by one or two strong personalities in the room. The extrovert who everyone knows will dominate any discussion, the expert everyone yields to because they are “the expert”, and often the boss, who may just be trying to participate, but whom subordinates may not want to publicly cross. This isn’t an indictment of any of these people, it’s just the nature of organizational psychology, so rather than trying to change human nature, Brokaw suggests a way to work with it.

Essentially the technique adds an extra step to brainstorming, you give the group the brainstorm topic and have them write down their thoughts, BEFORE discussion begins. Then use these thoughts to jump-start the discussion, or get it back on track when you digress. You might try anonymous inputs one time and giving credit the next; send out the topic and ask for inputs before the meeting and have them on the board even before you begin. There are so many ways you can apply this concept, play with it and see what works for you and your organization.

MIT Sloan Management Review
Leslie Brokaw on Twitter

See also:
How to Run a Meeting

About John Donahue

I'm a practicing Knowledge Manager, providing KM consulting for organizations from small businesses to large governmental agencies. I've organized and participated in KM and IKM Working Groups at a US Embassy overseas, with the US DoD, and with deployed NATO headquarter staffs. I served 20-years as an Air Force officer and aviator, during which time I was an award-winning instructor at the US Air Force Academy and logged nearly 100 combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan. Now a seasoned Knowledge Manager and certified Project Management Professional I'm applying my organizational, leadership, teaching and technical skill to the knowledge management profession.

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