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30 - 180 Low
The divergence part of a workshop


To generate many ideas in a group setting




Setting: comfortable

Time needed: 30 min. to 3 hours

Ideal conditions: A psychologically safe environment:  The Alex Osborn Rules of Brainstorming are: - No criticism of ideas - Go for large quantities of ideas - Build on each others ideas - Encourage wild and exaggerated ideas

Pre-Work Required: The focus question needs to be thought out clearly.


1. Ask individuals to first brainstorm 10 - 100 items (depending on the issue and the size of the group.
2. Ask them to select their best answers, often from 3 to 10
3 Collect the ideas, writing them where the group can see them
4. Go to the processing part of the workshop


Follow-Up Required: processing the results of the brainstorm

Usual or Expected Outcomes: lists of ideas beyond the standard answers that everyone knows already

Potential pitfalls: Individuals should do their own brainstorm before the whole group gets it's ideas out otherwise there is a tendency toward group think

How success is evaluated: Lots of unique ideas

Online Tips: 

The methodology may be used online using a whiteboard or word cloud to capture the information.


Source: Alex Osborn

History of Development: 

Applied Imagination, by Alex Osborn, originally published in 1953

A great deal of discussion is taking place about the effectiveness of brainstorming. The term is used in a variety of ways in meetings.

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