CHANGEMENT MEANS ALSO TO HAVE SOME GOOD IDEAS 3
The classical brainstorming technique is designed to generate a large number of ideas.
Reverse brainstorming is also concerned with generating ideas but not for solving a problem. Instead, the ideas are couched in terms of criticisms of previously generated ideas.
Thus, this technique uses a procedure opposite that of the idea advocate method: Negative rather than positive features of ideas are sought.
The major steps of reverse brainstorming are:
- Give each group member a list of previously generated ideas (or write the ideas on a chalkboard or flip chart)
- Ask the group members to raise their hands if they have a criticism of the first idea (or each member can be systematically given a chance to offer a criticism)
- When all the criticisms for the first idea have been brought out, ask the group to criticize the second idea. Continue this activity until all the ideas have been criticized
- Instruct the group to develop possible solutions for overcoming the weaknesses of each idea
- Select the idea (or ideas) with the fewest weaknesses that cannot be overcome or circumvented
As with the idea advocate method, reverse brainstorming can be extremely time-consuming if a large number of ideas are being processed.
As a result, it is best to use this technique when the original idea pool has been narrowed down some.
Perhaps the major weakness of this technique, however, is its emphasis on the negative. Stressing what is wrong with every idea may lead to a negative climate not conducive to creativity.
The major strengths of reverse brainstorming are the amount of discussion devoted to each idea and the provision for developing ways of overcoming idea weaknesses. While analyzing each idea, possible implementation obstacles may be suggested and dealt with, which can ensure more successful implementation.
Although reverse brainstorming does have advantages, it probably could be used more effectively in combination with the idea advocate technique. This would provide a more balanced evaluation of each idea and not be as likely to result in a negative climate.
Sticking dots is one of the simplest, most time-efficient voting methods available. Members each receive a fixed number of self-sticking, colored paper dots with which they can indicate their idea preferences with minimal time and effort.
The steps involved are:
- Display a previously generated list of ideas on a flip chart or on sticky notes attached to a bulletin board
- Give each group member a sheet of self-sticking colored dots. Each member should receive a different color, and the number of dots should equal about 10 percent of the ideas to be evaluated
- Ask the group members to vote for ideas by placing dots next to ideas they prefer. They may allocate their dots in any way they wish.
- Count the votes received by each idea, and select the ideas with the most votes
In addition to the relatively small amount of time required to use this method, there is the advantage of the sense of equal participation that it affords group members. Placing dots next to ideas is an activity in which all members have an opportunity to participate on an equal basis.
There are, however, several disadvantages associated with this technique. First, and perhaps most significant, the lack of anonymity may result in a certain degree of voting conformity. By seeing how the vote clusters develop, some members may feel pressured to vote in a similar manner.
Second, no discussion is conducted on criteria to use in making voting decisions.