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By 1970, research had shown that groups of people who sat quietly listing their ideas on their own pad of paper generated more ideas than a comparable group of people brainstorming. This finding led to the development of Brainwriting.

This procedure can be carried out in small or large groups. Since the ideas are anonymous, people generally do not hold ideas back as much as in brainstorming. But the ideas generated, while numerous, often lack breadth, because no perspectives are exchanged as in brainstorming. However, Brainwriting can be combined with brainstorming for multiple benefits.

The basis for most Brainwriting procedures is automatic writing. In automatic writing you write down all thoughts triggered. Do not hold back. Orderly thoughts are not required. Correct grammar is unimportant. Incomplete phrases are fine. There is also no effort at evaluation. Thoughts are allowed to flow directly onto paper. Nor do thoughts have to fit the topic (that would box you in).

When stuck, you are encouraged to write, "I have nothing to write" until you do have something to write. Automatic writing is a valuable Creativity Procedure that you can use to help list problem statements as well as solve problems creatively.

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Here are a number of Brainwriting procedures to follow:

Idea Gallery Brainwriting. Here, you write the six to ten problem statements that are of greatest interest on flip-chart paper, one problem statement per sheet. Attach the flip-chart papers to the wall. Then people walk around the room and write ideas and solutions directly on the papers. The ideas that accumulate on the papers frequently trigger ideas in other people as they wander around. The physical activity often also helps to stimulate creativity.

Use this procedure by hanging a paper with a problem statement written at the top outside your office door, inviting people to write their ideas. Some really useful ideas will appear.

Idea Card Brainwriting. During Idea Card Brainwriting each person quietly reflects on the problem, mulls over new thoughts, and privately writes ideas for about thirty or forty minutes on 5" or 8" colored index cards with a dark marker, one idea per card. Participants are asked to be non-evaluative.

An interesting variation of this is to have everyone write an absurd, bizarre, or exotic idea on a card, then exchange cards and write a new idea based on what appears on the card. Participants are asked to write down the first idea that comes to mind when looking at each new card. After twenty minutes, the cards are placed on tables or pinned to a wall so people can see them.

Clustering Brainwriting. You begin with a nucleus-word. This is the problem around which you wish to do some creative thinking. Write the nucleus-word in the center of a piece of paper or flip-chart paper. Now write whatever comes to mind in a cluster around the core word. Do not stop to think about what you are writing. Don't seek connections. You really want random thoughts in the early stages. Go off on wild tangents. Look for different perspectives. And be non-evaluative.

If one of the clouds of thoughts seems interesting, cluster around it for as long as you can be spontaneous. Then return to the original nucleus-word and cluster around it again.

Cluster as long as ideas flow freely. When you run out, let it sit for a time. Then return to the cluster and add new words. Now study the cluster of words you have created. Non-evaluatively list ideas you might want to try.

Connect word clusters to give new, creative, synergistic approaches to the problem on which you are working. Show the cluster to someone else to trigger new ideas.

Set a quota for a minimum number of usable ideas. To settle for less than five new ideas is to accept the obvious, the quick fix.

To force combinations between unrelated concepts, use two or more nucleus-words at opposite ends of the same paper. This will force a combination or create a usable metaphor between these concepts.

Source of Reference:
Edward Glassman, The Creativity Factor: Unlocking the Potential of Your Team , Pfeiffer and Company. You can obtain this fine book here

You can download excellent powerpoint slides on Marketing Strategy and Marketing Management HERE.