The Problem with Brainstorming

I’m reading a great new book by advertising and marketing legend Rory Sutherland called Alchemy and among the items jumping out at me is this quote: “reasoning is a priceless tool for evaluating solutions, and essential if you wish to defend them, but it does not always do a good job of finding those solutions in the first place.”

Are you in the position of having to find solutions in the first place… are there problems to solve that have landed on your lap?

Coming up with ideas, good ideas, useful ideas, is so important and so difficult.

Do you have a favorite approach?

I have a few favorite paths to take, with the key starting point for all being a clear definition of the problem you… and your team, if you have one… are trying to solve.

So let’s start there: What problem are you going to try to solve, and for whom?

Why do they think this is a problem? As the problem, as stated, a description of a symptom of a larger issue?

Who is affected by this problem?

Here’s a good one: Why hasn’t this problem been solved yet? Could it be that for some interested parties, what one person calls a problem is actually not such a bad thing at all? Are some people perfectly fine with the way things are? And maybe a solution, a change to the status quo, might cause them a problem?

What other barriers do you face?

And another important thing to think about: What will the world… or at least your little corner of the world…  like look like when this problem is solved? 

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