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Brainstorming Techniques You Can Use at Home

After trying everything to motivate your toddler to eat his greens, you scream “I give up!” Frustrated, you put the bowl and spoon down and admit helplessness against a 3-year-old’s discerning taste buds. After all, what else can you do? You’ve ran out of ideas!

The art of generating ideas may seem like something only businesspersons would be interested in. But when you think about it, there are many problems at home that can do with skills in coming up with workable ideas. Interested in putting up a home-based business everyone can contribute to? Why not start a round-table discussion and gather ideas? Junior can’t seem to find the confidence to try out for the school’s soccer team? Then ask siblings how they think they can help. Hey, a family that brainstorms together comes up with creative solutions together.

Are you interested in becoming more adept at finding solutions to life’s problems? If yes, then consider the following brainstorming techniques you can use at home:

Throwing everything into the hat. One of the simplest ways of brainstorming, this technique is basically encouraging each member of the family to make a contribution --- or to throw something into the hat, so to speak. By getting everyone to share an idea, you can get even your quietest family member to give input. It’s also an awesome way family members can bond and get to know one another.

Building on other people’s ideas. If you want the entire family involved in the process of fleshing out the skeleton of an idea, why not encourage them to build on each other’s contributions? Brainstorming is essentially saying the first thing that comes out of your mind, so it’s not unusual to come up with just seeds of an idea when you start the process. But if other family members will be given a chance to add to, or to hack away, at someone’s contribution, the seed of an idea can become a full-blown, workable plan. A perfect way for the family to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses --- just make sure no fights break out!

Synectics. Hey, don’t let the technical term intimidate you! Synectics is simply a brainstorming technique wherein you come up with ideas by creating analogies and comparisons between two things that seem unrelated. For example, you can tell your kids: “If de-cluttering our home is like a military operation, how should we proceed?” Synectics opens creative juices up, helping family members come up with ideas they otherwise wouldn’t have thought of.

Reverse Brainstorming. Coming up with solutions to a problem is not the only way you can generate good ideas. You can take a more roundabout approach by looking instead at the cause of the problem or ways you can obtain an effect the opposite of what you want. For example, instead of brainstorming for ideas on how to find time for family bonding, you can start a survey of ways you would end up with zero family time. Understanding the flipside of the coin can give you insight on the things that you should avoid and watch out for. A great help when making plans!

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