By Mike Cerruti, Manager of Software Solutions
Can you imagine being around NASA in the early seventies, and the Apollo mission was winding down? Where to go next? A reusable spacecraft, launch like a rocket, land like a plane? A team of engineers gather in a room with that in mind. That must have been one great brainstorming session, and from that the Space Shuttle was born.
How about SpaceX? In order to make spaceflight more affordable, we need a reusable rocket. Launch like a rocket, land it, and reuse it. I’m sure they entered that room shaking their heads.
On March 30, 2017 SpaceX mission SES-10 launched a Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket from pad 39-A at Cape Kennedy, and successfully landed it on a drone ship. The first stage was reused from the April 8, 2016 mission CRS-8. Think about that first Brainstorming session.
Recently, Software Solutions held a Brainstorming session for a new project, and came away with some solid ideas. We’re not going to reuse a spacecraft or a rocket, but that doesn’t lessen the importance of the exercise.
Let’s consider where and when you can use brainstorming to get a project off the ground (pun intended.)
The next time you’re stumped about a decision or can’t move forward, try out one of these approaches, taken from an Inc. article by John Boitnot. You might be surprised by how effective they (still) are. Regardless of the technique you use remember the number one rule of brainstorming is that there are no bad ideas. Write everything down.
Teleporting Storming: You’re staring down a problem and can’t seem to find the right approach. Imagine that you were in a different place or a different time. Would you approach it differently if you were dealing with it at your favorite vacation spot rather than your cubicle? Imagine it from an alternate perspective and the path forward may become clearer.
Figuring Storming: Can you imagine how someone else might tackle an issue, whether it’s a celebrity, your boss, or a role model? Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It often helps you see things from a fresh perspective.
Mind the Gap: Whether you realize it consciously or not, the actual problem you’re struggling with is a gap. You know where you are (Point A) and where you want to get (Point Z), and it’s that gap in between the two that needs to be filled. Write down all the steps necessary to get there so you have a tangible to-do list that’s a lot easier to tackle.
Mind Mapping: Perhaps the most classic approach of all, this is putting a goal in the center of a piece of paper or board, then branding into subtopics. Create as many subcategories as possible as well as ideas that spring from them. It’s great for writers and other creative types who are looking for a commonality but have the freedom to get a little more innovative.
Blind Writing: This can be used for just about any type of issue, not just writer’s block. Forcing yourself to simply put pen to paper for a minimum of 10 minutes will open up new ideas. The only rule is you have to keep writing, even if it’s to jot down, “I don’t know what to write about.” Eventually you’ll come up with something.
Group Ideation Storming: Two is better than one when it comes to brainstorming sessions. When you start discussing ideas as a group, you’ll naturally feed off of each other and discover more things.
No matter what technique works for you, it’s always beneficial to experiment. You might find that there are several techniques that help. Otherwise, who knows what you might be missing?
If you have any questions or suggestions that will make you more efficient as an SIS employee, and make your day easier, please contact the Software Solutions team at firstname.lastname@example.org. No project is too small or idea too big for us to consider. The answer might not always be yes, and a no might just mean we don’t know how to do it today. Never under estimate the possible. Dream big!