Monday, October 22, 2007

More Story-Writing for Brainstorming Ideas and a Possible Method

I've been posting lately about my thoughts on creating ideas for brainstorms by writing stories (and dialogue). One approach I'd like to pursue involves writing a fictional brainstorm, with dialogue created for each of the brainstorm participants.

One technique I've developed has led to an interesting idea that could, perhaps, increase the output of group brainstorms. With this story-writing technique I choose a character from the fictional brainstorm and imagine that the character is reflecting on the brainstorm at some date in the future. (There are some specific methods I've developed to create the dialogue but I'll describe them in another post in the future). So, for example, a character - say, Dan - reflects:

The first ten minutes of that brainstorm had a lot of stopping!

This functions as a thought experiment, and it led to two ideas:

1) (An obvious idea) Brainstorms have frequent breaks

2) An individual calls "Stop!" at random intervals.

My thoughts on the second idea are: what if...the "stopper" called for a stop when a participant was half way through calling out an idea? What if...the other participants tried to complete the idea? What if...a separate team of brainstormers could read the output of a brainstorm but could only see obscured versions of each of the ideas -- some words would be omitted from either the beginning or the end of the ideas, and the second team of brainstormers would have to complete the ideas? Would they generate new ideas by doing this?

Something like this could be done for a brainstorming tool like BrainReactions' Brainstorming Tool: Instead of accessing a brainstorm normally, you could also have the option to view an obscured version, where words would be omitted from the existing ideas.

Here are some examples of "creative omissions" using some ideas from last week's live brainstorm about plastic bag recycling:

With words omitted from the end of ideas

Use them as...

Grind them up and use them...

Have special lectures or sessions in...

lower the quality of plastic bags to...

Devise machines that...

With words omitted from the beginning of ideas

...that were stuffed with old bags?

...using plastic bags of different colors. raise awareness about the waste.

...use it when you go grocery shopping next time any outdoor park area

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