Brainstorming is a very useful method of generating ideas and can be used at many stages in the design process. In its most formal sense, it is a group participation technique for generating a wide range of ideas in order to tackle a stated problem. In a less formalized way, an individual or pair can use a brainstorming session to generate ideas. What follows is a description of brainstorming at its most formalized; such a rigid approach, however, may well inhibit ideas.
1) A problem statement is formulated. Too vague or too restrictive a statement should be avoided.
2) The group of people to participate in the session is selected. The group should ideally include some people familiar with the problem area. Small groups of about 4-8 people are best.
3) Five or ten minutes are allowed for group members to write down their first ideas in reply to the problem statement.
4) Group members are encouraged to continue writing down new ideas whilst each person in turn reads out one idea from their set.
The session rules are:
a) No criticism is allowed of any idea.
b) Crazy ideas are welcome.
c) The more ideas the better.
d) Ideas should be combined and built upon.
5) After the session, the ideas are evaluated.