If traditional brainstorming sessions are not being able to provide you the befitting solutions for any problem or issue, then the brainwriting technique is a more powerful technique for the rapid idea generation.
You can also opt for the brainwriting technique for improving the effectiveness of your traditional brainstorming model of meetings and strategy makings. The whole process of brainwriting revolves around a few simple steps in which each member of a team writes down their ideas/solutions in response to an issue.
After writing down the ideas, one person passes that paper to the next individual who reviews the ideas mentioned above and adds their ideas. Once everyone writes down the ideas after the full round, the team shares all the given ideas.
This article will take you deep into the world of brainwriting and help you understand the right strategies and practices that can alleviate your idea generation process in a rock-solid & result-driven manner. So, without any further ado, let us get started right away-
Introduction to Brainwriting
We all encounter a problem where it is difficult to find a solution to them.
At times, we even find it tough to execute an idea in the right manner. In both these cases, brainstorming can help. It is often followed by intense discussions that help prepare a proper plan for the realization of this idea or this concept. However, many researchers have concluded that brainstorming is not that fruitful, and many of the times, it does not offer a viable solution in real-time.
At the time when brainstorming is inefficient and may not yield proper results, the one technique that will not only rescue you but also offer you a more unified, productive, and effective solution is brainwriting.
It is a novel concept and has been quite successful in recent times. Let us delve into its world and unravel some hidden mysteries-
What is Brainwriting?
The need for brainstorming mainly comes from the fact that we all face confusion, roadblocks, and dilemmas. Brainwriting belongs to the class of brainstorming ideas.
As the name rightly suggests, in brainwriting, the person writes down what is going on in the brain. It gives a better sense of what lies within us. It exposes what we are thinking about and how we are thinking.
It has been observed that the roots of most of our problems lie in our thought processes.
It is well said that the issues are just as significant or as severe as we think they are.
Hence, controlling our thought processes is of great use. Controlling something begins with understanding the details of its working. That is why to control your thought process; you need to understand it first. That can be achieved effectively through brainwriting.
Brainwriting is quite a new term, and most people don’t know it thoroughly.
The real idea behind brainwriting is to give every team member equal opportunity of speaking up. When every person’s views are understood, there is a harmony created among them.
Also, it sheds light on different aspects of the same topic. You can get to know what everyone is thinking about a particular matter. In brainwriting, people write down their ideas.
Hence, it gives them the chance to formulate these ideas better. There are lesser chaos and more productivity.
Where to Use Brainwriting?
There are several instances where people brainstorm. Here, it can be easily replaced by brainwriting. The purpose of brainwriting and brainstorming is quite the same. Hence, it has found applications in various fields, and its scope is quite broad. Given below are some examples of brainwriting.
- Your work culture is not that open, and a wild exchange of ideas like that in brainstorming is not acceptable to your senior management. If your senior management disapproves of traditional brainstorming, you can go for brainwriting.
- Brainstorming needs a moderator. He/she is a person who keeps a check on the over-enthusiasm or loudness of the participants. The moderator ensures that the employees’ productivity is not replaced with just a lot of noise and contradictions. If you do not have an experienced or trained moderator, you can try brainwriting.
- In brainstorming, it is often observed that only those who are vocal about their thoughts can speak up. On the other hand, the quiet and reserved people find it intimidating. Here, you can use brainwriting instead of brainstorming.
- If you have a large group of people like that of 300 or 500 people, brainstorming is not that feasible. It is impossible to let everyone speak and hear every person out. In this case, only those who are vociferous will take advantage of this situation, and the timid ones will not be able to point across. Here, you can go to brainwriting. It will give equal opportunity to everyone.
Brainstorming Vs. Brainwriting: Why Brainwriting is better
While brainstorming sessions can go through internees discussion and conversation sessions, brainwriting needs no conversation. It is more committed and focuses, as every member shares their ideas by being in their zone without getting affected by the presence of other members.
In brainstorming sessions, large groups may find it difficult to stay attentive all the time, plus influential people and seniors inherently control the channelization of discussions and idea-sharing. The first idea in brainstorming plays a crucial role in channelizing others’ thought processes, and hence there can be a lack of innovative ideas in brainstorming sessions.
Brainstorming can also take longer durations compared to brainwriting sessions. Also, in brainstorming, most of the time, individuals tend to think in vice-versa fashion. Internal politics also hamper the productivity of brainstorming meetings.
Brainwriting offers solutions to all such issues in the most convenient, constructive, and result-oriented manner.
Advantages of Brainwriting over Brainstorming
Brainwriting has found vast applications, given its advantages of brainstorming. It has been inferred that brainwriting is more efficient and peaceful. Let’s take a look at some of its benefits.
- Brainstorming is generally for the confident and vocal lot. If you have participants who give ideas freely and openly, you can take brainstorming. However, if you have timid people who shy away from speaking out, brainwriting helps.
- In brainstorming, there is a lot of noise and a lot of debates. On the other hand, in brainwriting, there are quiet people just writing down their thoughts. It is a more peaceful setting that allows everyone to take their own time and think about the question in depth.
- In brainstorming, people often interrupt the speaker, and there is lesser clarity in explanation of thoughts. If you go for brainwriting, each participant gets that fixed amount of time to write, and no one interrupts them or stops them from elaborating their ideas.
- It has been observed that in brainstorming sessions, the louder people have an influential impact. That is why the shyer ones do not get a chance to talk. It leads to lesser ideas, and most of the ideas aligning with those presented by the loudest person. Since this is not the case in brainwriting, you can expect more creativity and more variety of ideas coming in.
Let us now go through some of the key steps through which brainwriting sessions should go through-
Steps in Brainwriting
Brainwriting is an advantageous and efficient medium for generating newer ideas and solving problems.
There are three necessary steps involved in brainwriting. If you want to find an optimal solution, you need to go through all of these steps. That will make your solutions sustainable and better.
Step 1: Each participant is given a card or a piece of paper and a pen to write. Brainwriting involves writing what goes on in your head. The participant needs to write the answer to every question asked by the moderator.
Step 2: Once they have finished writing that, they need to pass that piece of paper or the card to the person sitting next to him/her. That person needs to review the ideas shared in that paper. He/she can put them to test and think them through to check their feasibility and profitability.
Step 3: Once everyone is done reviewing another person’s work, it is time to submit all the sheets to the moderator. The moderator presents all the ideas to the whole team along with their reviews. It helps the team decide which idea is the best and finalize the plan of action.
Now, when you are well aware of the steps of brainwriting practices, you might be thinking about the things that go at the planning and implementation stages of brainwriting sessions. Let us understand that here and now-
Making a Plan for a Basic Brainwriting Session
Conducting a basic brainwriting session can be a psychological exercise in itself. It lets you explore your thought processes and capacities and get to know other people. Here is a basic plan for arranging such a session.
1. What is the issue you want to address?
It is the first and foremost point while planning a brainwriting session. It is of the utmost importance to know the topic for yourself. If the moderator does not see the topic in detail, he will not explain it to the team gathering for brainwriting.
2. Choose the right place for brainwriting
Brainwriting is generally done in cabins or conference rooms. You should make sure that there are no disturbances in this session, like external noise or random people coming in. Otherwise, you can twist traditional brainwriting by arranging it in an accessible place like the canteen area or the garden where it is calm and relaxed.
3. Explain the rules of that session
Every brainwriting session has some basic rules called the ground rules. These are the restrictions or the limitations of the ideas to be churned out. Also, the moderator should explain how an idea should be put across, the time given for each question, and how each idea will be discussed and evaluated.
In this step, the participants will be asked specific questions, and they will be required to write their thoughts down. There will be a particular time limit for this round.
5. Sharing of ideas
The participants will share the sheets on which the ideas are written with the person sitting next to them. That person will review the plans and submit them to the moderator. The moderator will either discuss all the ideas or share them with the management team who will be making the decisions.
For effective brainwriting, there are some established methods that you can practice to complete the idea generation tasks in a customized and effective fashion. Let us conclude this post by going through those methods of brainwriting-
Methods of Brainwriting
Various brain-writing methods can be adapted according to the team’s needs and ground rules. Here are some of the most commonly used methods.
1. 6-3-5 method
In this method, a group of 6 members jots down three ideas per person in one round. Each round lasts for 5 minutes.
For this, you just need to create a form for every participant. The problem or question should be mentioned on the top of the form and then make three boxes for each of six rounds of brainwriting.
Just set your timer, start round one, then round two, and in the same way, go up to six rounds. Then sort all the ideas and opt for the most favorable and productive direction.
2. Remote method
Here, the participants are not present in front of each other. They share their ideas through emails and messages.
Some of the most common tools that are preferably used in remote brainwriting sessions are Instant Messenger, Blogs or Wikis, Email, Google Spreadsheets, Virtual Whiteboards, and so on.
3. Collaborative method
You can post a prompt on an easily accessible space, and your team members can reach there and write their ideas one by one in the given period.
Such methods of brainwriting are effective when opting for group meeting is not feasible. You can put a poster paper at some accessible space in the office with the problem or question mentioned on the top of the paper.
Then you may invite participants to share their ideas on the paper as per their convenience. After a fixed time, you should remove that paper and go through those ideas to find out the best-suited ones.
Brainwriting is an excellent concept that can be easily used to generate newer ideas or solve problems more efficiently.
You can opt for this method for faster and result-driven idea generation. Such sessions cause lesser social anxiety, plus individuals would not be required to compete with different personalities. It is also considered more effective in providing more creative and diverse ideas.
So, what are your thoughts about the usability of brainwriting in coming with effective ideas? Have you ever tried using this technique to solve any issue? Share your experience with us in the comment section below.