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The most effective brainstorming session methodology for being amazingly creative

Effective brainstorming sessions are easier if you know what tools to use. Learn to master the most effective brainstorming techniques to facilitate your brainstorms.

When it comes to creative brainstorming sessions or meetings for strategic decisions, the person who shouts the loudest may decide what the creative outcome will be. A decision is made, but not everyone is on the same page.

This can result in demotivation, frustrations, and a dysfunctional team that does not benefit the end result. But it doesn't have to be this way! Often the cause of disagreement is not a difference of opinion, but a difference in perception and lack of using a good brainstorming technique.

Walt Disney had a way of brainstorming, creating ideas, and decision-making with a group of people that many see as extremely effective. A model has emerged that is called the Disney model. Highly effective and reduces almost all waste of time.

If the Disney model rules of the game are applied, this results in coordinated decision-making within a group with better results than an individual could achieve. People start to develop and share their ideas, get inspired, and become more creative.

Effective brainstorming: The foundations of the Disney model

The Disney model assumes that a person has three so-called core competencies when it comes to how a situation is approached. Of these, one is usually dominant. Sometimes a second competency is also developed, but rarely does anyone have all three. The core competencies are:

The Dreamer Dreamers are the people in a group who always have the wildest ideas and fantasies. But these creative ideas also might fail often. They regularly ask themselves the question: What if something does ….

The Realist Realists are people who want to know facts, know facts, and think about facts without having a direct opinion of them. They regularly ask themselves the question: What do I actually know about this …

The Critic Critics are the people who see the downside of everything and want to prevent problems. They regularly ask themselves the question: What if something isn't …

The dreamer and the critic both look at the same thing, only with the opposite question. They both want to solve the same problem or come up with great ideas. The difference in thinking style, however, is that a dreamer thinks in terms of: "What if it succeeds", and the critics think in terms of "what if it doesn't work".

Effective brainstorming: Who is right if you are both not sure about something?

The dreamer and the critic both live in the perception that they are right and their idea is the best. Discussions about who is right or wrong can continue until dawn, causing a lot of wasted time. To prevent this, Disney had the following in mind.

Every brainstorm starts with a group of creative dreamers. Within the group of people, realists and critics must keep their distance. This is logical in itself because realists do not think of anything new. They only deal with facts. And the critics don't think of anything new either, because they just wonder why something would not work.

Three sessions from three perspectives to create great ideas

After the outcome of brainstorming session 1 by the dreamers, the best idea is told to the realists. In session 2, the group of realists gathers all the facts they can find without any judgment as to what is right or wrong. They pass the idea and the facts on to the group of critics. In session 3, the critics brainstorm about all possible scenarios that may go wrong with the proposed idea.

Effective brainstorming in groups with a creative outcome

The process repeats until everyone within the group is satisfied with the creative outcome. After the critics are ready, it is up to the dreamers to come up with new input and ideas. This way, the concerns of the critics disappear. Not all worries need to be resolved immediately by the dreamer because the realists are also involved again. The facts of the realists will undermine some of the concerns of the critics.

The disadvantage of the Disney model

Repeating the process usually results in a better outcome (more creative ideas), and you ensure that everyone is on the same page and motivated. The disadvantage is that it can be a time-consuming process. Proponents of the Disney model claim that working with people who do not support the outcome of a meeting or brainstorming will cost much more time and energy in the short and long term.

A second disadvantage is that there are always people who have not only developed just one core competency but also exaggerated this competence. Too much worry says more about the person than about the subject and the real dangers. Dreaming too enthusiastically also says more about the naivety of the person than about the subject and the opportunities. It can be difficult to recognize people within a group of brainstormers who exaggerate a core competence.


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