BrainJamming your way to powerful ideas

WHAT may sound like yet another buzzword is actually an interesting technique fr idea generation. Many companies like Google, Yahoo and Satyam have used t successfully for building on ideas.


So, what is a BrainJam? It’s a simple way of getting a group of diverse people together and letting them voice out their ideas. The plan is to encourage the group to get that idea out of their mind into the open. Participants are told to keep their idea very short and crisp, mostly within a minute.

The positive thing about BrainJams is that every idea is considered a good idea. No matter how simple or trivial the idea may sound. There is no critiquing allowed on any idea by the fellow participants. It doesn’t matter how illogical or how grandiose an idea is. Everyone is encouraged to build on the idea and not pull down. No ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’.  You can only add to the idea.

With such a positive ambiance created, it motivates even the most reticent folks to come up and talk about their idea. I recently had the opportunity to host a BrainJam on innovation at at IIT Delhi along with Amit Somani, the head of Search and Products at Google India. The response pleasantly surprised me.

As people were quickly rolling out ideas, a team of volunteers write down the ideas on a big chart paper. Another volunteer parallel transcribed them into a laptop. The BrainJam at generated over 40 ideas and they were all jotted down on the chart paper.

Once this was done, all the participants were given three stickers each, which basically represented three votes. They were then instructed to vote for what they think are the three best ideas by sticking on sticker to the ideas they liked. This helped select the best idea that the majority of the participants liked. In this case, it was an online system to track the performance of Indian politicians.

The next step is for the entire team to follow up on that one idea to make it better. When over a 100 people focus their efforts on helping build that one idea, it can be quite a powerful thing.

BrainJams enable ordinary people with extraordinary ideas to make real, lasting impact. It’s a powerful ideation tool and I strongly recommend you try out this technique at your work place.

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