A New Kind of Brainstorming

A New Kind of Brainstorming
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Lotus Blossom

The Lotus Blossom technique, created by Yasuo Matsumura, is a structured mind map. As shown on the right, the central idea, problem, or issue that is being discussed is written in the center of the lotus blossom diagram. Participants brainstorm related ideas, issues, solutions, and applications, which are captured in the surrounding eight circles. Each of these eight ideas then becomes the center of a new lotus blossom. This process continues until all participants are able to provide their input and the team is able to look at as many solutions, approaches, issues, and applications related to the initial idea as possible.

Six Thinking Hats

The final technique, Six Thinking Hats, was developed by Edward de Bono to represent six modes of thinking. The Six Thinking Hats are directions for how to think, rather than labels for thinking proactively. This method promotes more robust input from people by facilitating different ways of thinking about a topic while brainstorming. The key theoretical reason to use the Six Thinking Hats is to encourage parallel and full-spectrum thinking and to separate ego from performance.

When choosing which technique to use to help address a problem it is important to take into consideration the personalities and working relationships of the parties involved. Consider using one of these brainstorming techniques in your next meeting to maximize time and effort in generating innovative solutions.

Experts in the Field