In Class Group Brainstorming

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Readings

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Reading Responses

Michael Flater - 2/1/2013 14:23:34

Common mistakes in brainstorming are listed quite clearly in the reading. Having any sort of hierarchy is always a bad idea, because it leads to seeking approval. Not allowing everyone to speak freely is also a very bad way to box the conversation. These, for obvious reasons, kill brainstorms and lead to less productive ideas.

The one thing I did not do in my brainstorm was work with a group, something that will be fixed when we meet our teams on Tuesday. I allowed myself to think of goofy and stupid ideas, because that could lead to a good one. The reason having more than one person is important, in my opinion, is that it allows for people to feed off each other's ideas and really have a few great concepts when the session ends.

Shujing Zhang - 2/1/2013 20:39:44

1)

  • A brainstomer without a clear problem statement. Also some problem statement may be too narrow and ruling out the possible solutions.
  • Some people may start critiquing or debating ideas right away.
  • Some people may limit the special memory to only a white board, and end up erasing things when running out of rooms.
  • Often the boss speaks first and narrowing down or ruling out some of the solutions with constraints.
  • Everyone speak in a turn. This practice often leads to dull and painful environment.
  • Always look for “experts” idea. In fact everyone with related experience is qualified to contribute insights.
  • Some company let people get used to brainstorming off-site.
  • Some people want to avoid speaking out silly stuffs, which may potentially miss great ideas and a lot of fun.
  • Some people write everything down when brainstorming, which prevents creating new ideas.

2) I followed several rules mentioned in Kelley’s rules.

  • Sharpen the Focus. I clarify the topic to what students and professor may need or do during 10 min Berkeley time. And design app accordingly.
  • Playful Rules. Since I do the brainstorm by myself, I usually don’t eliminate crazy ideas right away, and revise them later.
  • Number My Ideas
  • Get Physical. I sketched some prototype when brainstorming to test the applicability.

3) I didn’t follow the following rules:

  • Build and Jump
  • Space Remembers
  • Stretch your Mental Muscles.

4) During the Monday’s brainstorm, I would apply Build and Jump to facilitate the process of brainstorming, to keep our idea on track as well. Also, I will apply Space Remebers if possible. In a team, it is important to warm up a little, so I will get some background information beforehand.


Eric Xiao - 2/2/2013 16:40:43

Common mistakes are that thinking that we brainstorm and brainstorm often when we really don't. It's like a checkbox rather than a part of the integral culture of the company. A lot of brainstorming sessions are exercises and structured rather than what they should be: chaotic and free-form. Anything that limits or puts a gatekeeper on your mind will be a mistake when brainstorming.

I set a decent problem statement, and was very playful with my rules. I wasn't very visual, however, because I didn't draw it out and use my spatial memory. I also didn't do any real mental preparation, I was focused on getting the assignment done, so stretching my mental muscles was to do assignments in my other classes. I did also do some coding of user interfaces for a project of mine, so that was at least relevant material.

For the in-class brainstorm, I will be as open to suggestions as possible, and try to bounce off other people's ideas as best as I can. I will also try to set the tone regarding the problem statement, or help another group member to set the tone so that we don't go off on the wrong track, and I'll put a whole bunch of papers on the table.

Soo Hyoung Cheong - 2/2/2013 22:21:01

-According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming? One common mistake in brainstorming is that spending longer time to brainstorm is good, but this is not true. According to Kelley, brainstorming shouldn’t really take more than 60 minutes, which is optimal. Also the notion that “the boss gets to speak first” seems like it is proper, but the standards set by the boss limits the extent of brainstorming. Another mistake is that “everybody gets a turn,” but this method can force people to speak out instead of letting ideas come to you, which is not the way to go. Some people also believe that experts are necessary for brainstorming, but this is not true, because being locked in expert mindset may limit the creativity. Brainstorming off-site is another misconception about better brainstorming, but brainstorming should happen naturally in a daily office setting. Last mistake that people make is to write down everything that is said, but this is not necessarily good because it will take focus off of brainstorming ideas to taking notes.

-Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you follow? Which ones didn't you follow? For the individual design assignment, I followed “sharpening the focus,” “playful rules,” “number your ideas,” and “build and jump” to certain extent. However, I did not follow “the space remembers,” “Stretch your mental muscles,” and “get physical.”

-What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday? For the in-class group brainstorm, I would try to draw things out on paper more, rather than just thinking things out in my head. I think that visual mapping of ideas might have been more useful in doing a more effective brainstorming.


Lauren Fratamico - 2/2/2013 23:27:29

Common mistakes include thinking you already know how to brainstorm while in reality it is a skill that needs to be learned and requires constant practice to improve. Other common mistakes include forcing everybody to go in a circle and contribute an idea in turn or having the boss set expectations of the ideas produced from the brainstorm.

In my design experiment, I followed "playful rules" (don't critique ideas) and "number ideas". We somewhat followed "build and jump", but I feel that our brainstorming session wasn't long enough to warrant majorly switching gears. We did not follow "the space remembers", but I would like to visually lay out our ideas during our group session. I would also like to follow the "stretch your mental muscles" section by starting with an ice breaking activity, especially since I will likely not know my group members. "Sharpening the focus" seems like a hard think to focus on, at least for an early brainstorming session. Our class goal is to make an app that will be beneficial for a group, which is a much broader task than this idea suggests we focus on. I feel that the 7th idea, "get physical", doesn't apply as much to apps, as we won't really be building any 3 dimensional devices. This doesn't mean we can't sketch things out in 2D though.

Si Hyun Park - 2/3/2013 2:23:30

1. First common mistake in brainstorming is having the boss speak first, as this would set a boundary upon the group's creativity. Some people might think that democracy fosters brainstorming, but Kelley argues that everybody speaking in a row would only create chaos. Also, experts-only attitude creates a similar effect of having the boss speak first - stifling the group's creativity. A group full of people from different backgrounds would promote better, more creative ideas. Off-site brainstorming sessions are bad as well, as a positive brainstorming should be prevalent within the office. Furthermore, there should be a fine line between "creativity" and "irrationality" - silly ideas are nothing more than silly, and it would only bring the atmosphere down. Finally, brainstorming sessions are not History 101. Writing down everything would prevent you from thinking critically, and discourage you from contributing to the group.

2. During my individual design assignment, one suggestion I almost religiously followed was "Sharpen the focus." Most of the ideas in my brainstorming was derived after assessing one or more of the problems that my interview subjects had in their Berkeley Time experience. By looking at their problems, I could think of an application that suits people's needs, and create a user interface that help people satisfy their needs through the application. In fact, I follow this principle in my previous projects as well, such as Ego, a personalized news community (www.egodecal.com). I thought of the idea after narrowing down on one specific need: inefficiency in receiving information related to users' interests. Before I narrowed down on that particular need, I wondered upon ambiguous concepts such as "social network" for websites.

3. For the in-class group brainstorm on Monday, I would like to use "stretching the mental muscle" of Kelley's brainstorming suggestions that I did not follow in my individual design assignment. First is When I usually brainstorm, as I did in my individual design assignment, I usually jump right at the problem, analyzing the user's needs. Although this might work in an "individual" brainstorming, I believe some warm-up sessions are critical in building teamwork in group brainstorming session. People often think that the number of people and the quantity/quality of the ideas generated have a linear relationship. This is not true, however, as more people might bring disharmony and often individual brainstorming might generate better ideas. As such, warm-up sessions suggested by Kelley would allow teammates to form a bond amongst themselves, making it easier for them to generate ideas in a consensus.

Colin Chang - 2/3/2013 10:28:05

According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming?

Well he lists six (ways to kill a brainstormer) at the end of the article. It sounds like a big concern is limiting the brainstorming process, whether it be literal boundaries from the boss, a binding process like the democratic process example, implicit appeals to personal expertise, or what have you. The process should be a fluid one, with a balance (more liberal, if I understand, than not) of freedom and direction.

Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you follow? Which ones didn't you follow? What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday?

Well my friend and I didn't fully take advantage of the spatial memory aspect of brainstorming (writing things down everywhere) which sounds like it could have helped. Also, I was quick to run a quick feasibility test in my head, which (now that I'm reflecting back), stilted the process (both discouraging free thinking and bogged down the ideation). In the future I'll be more conscious (or less conscious, depending on how you think about it) of immediate critiques. Ah, another thing my friend and I didn't do, since we've never worked together on a project, we didn't do any warm up activities. In our case I didn't notice any drastic shortcomings (either cause by a lack of warm-up activities or not), but perhaps doing them will offer greater elasticity in brainstorming.

Claire Tuna - 2/3/2013 13:12:17

According to Kelly, the common brainstorm mistakes are: 1) “The boss speaks first”, which can impose limits or intimidation. 2) “Everybody gets a turn”, which guides the discussion too heavy handedly by prohibiting random contributions and forcing people to speak when they may not have anything to say. 3) “Experts only”, which may turn away people with key insights. 4) Hosting the brainstorm “offsite”, which separates the creative process from the office building. Kelly claims it is effective to habitually return to the same space to brainstorm, so that you associate that place with the creative process. 5) “No silly stuff”, the opposite of “encourage wild ideas”. 6) “Write down everything”, because if you’re writing, you’re not actively brainstorming.


I brainstormed with my roommate, Abby, because she is not an software engineer of any sort, and I thought she would have a different perspective than me. I think this decision correlated with Kelly’s discouragement of the “experts only” attitude. I also encouraged and built off of her wild ideas, and as a result, we thought of things I never would have thought of alone. For example, we started talking about the “movie theatre effect”, and how sitting in a big dark room and watching something on a big screen gives everyone common ground. We thought about different things the big screen could show during Berkeley Time (inspired by Dan Garcia showing UCBUGG trailers at the beginning of my 61C class). Some ideas were tame, such as the news or review questions. My favorite idea that emerged, however, was that the class have a “theme song” and a narration saying something like “Previously on CS160”, with a montage of key moments from the last class. Another idea we had was to do routine health checkups during Berkeley time, so that you could have early detection of some medical conditions. One weird idea led to the next: we thought about community building by giving your neighbor a mammogram, stepping on your phone to weigh yourself, etc. I think the guideline I struggled most with following was the “evaluate later” attitude. I found myself accidentally saying “No, because...” a few times, if Abby’s idea didn’t quite fit the assignment. In the future, I will try to stifle such comments. Another issue I had was writing everything down, which disrupted our flow of thinking because I would have to say “wait, hold on, let me type that.” To avoid this necessity, next time, I will record the brainstorm and comb through it’s contents afterward.

Zhaochen Liu - 2/3/2013 14:02:30

Problems

There are generally 3 problems about brainstorming 1. People treat brainstorm as a check box: they only care if they have done that but do not pay much attention to the quality of the brainstorm session. 2. They sometimes schedule long meetings that will last the whole morning or after. In fact, the optimum length is 1 hour. 3. Spending a lot of money at some glamorous off-site location to brainstorm is not necessary.


The ones I follow

1. Sharpen the focus: I understand the problem I was trying to solve (Berkeley time) completely before start to brainstorm. 2. Number your ideas: I numbered all my ideas when coming up with a list of new ideas 3. Build and jump: I divided my ideas to some categories (entertainment, study, social, etc..) and try to find ideas in different categories. I also try to build some ideas in the same category.


The ones I didn’t follow

1. No silly stuff: I quickly have doubts about some of my ideas and then reject those immediately. 2. The space remembers: I didn’t use my scratch paper or white board nicely. Instead, I squeezed all my ideas in a small piece of paper or simply typed on my PC.


What will I do differently in Monday’s in-class brainstorm session?

1. I will have my group warm up well and get to know each other first before we start brainstorming since we will be a new group. Perhaps, we can use some ice breakers or mind game. 2. When explaining my ideas, I will use more visual techniques such as sketching, diagrams and stick figures. Also, I will try to demonstrate my ideas physically: maybe I can demonstrate my ideas with physical objects that I already have. 3. Do not criticize on other people’s ideas immediately. Instead, I will see if that idea inspires me or try to build upon their ideas.

Monica To - 2/3/2013 15:05:28

Kelley specifically lists "Six Ways to Kill a Brainstormer" where he goes through six potential ways to limit and essentially paralyzes a person's creativity when brainstorming for new innovative ideas. He generally concludes that anything that puts an narrow barrier or sets a strict expectation before a brainstorming session will limit the amount of ideas and innovation. One particular mistake is to start critiquing early in the brainstorming process. It not only discourages "wild ideas", but it sets a bar that encourages only safe and similar ideas. Without those "wild ideas" that Kelley describes, there is little room to build and jump ideas off of and that ultimately limits the innovation during a brainstorming session. During the individual design assignment, I made the mistake of filtering my ideas. It took me quite a while to come up with 12 ideas and most of my early ideas were "run of the mill". I tried to avoid the crazy and outrageous ideas and ended up with many "boring" ones. It wasn't until I talked to a friend and when he suggested a really silly idea that I started to come up with creative and new ideas. After reading The Perfect Brainstorm, I know what kinds of pitfalls to watch out for. What I would do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday is to stop myself from critiquing ideas during the brainstorm. I want to come up with crazy ideas and hopefully inspire and build off of my teams' innovation and creativity. I also think that warming up our minds before we start brainstorming will be beneficial because we will get a chance to get everyone in the right mindset and become comfortable with sharing ideas with the team.

Alvin Yuan - 2/3/2013 15:09:48

Some common mistakes are: -To let the boss set a tone or constraints for the brainstorming session. This restricts what the brainstormers might suggest. -Imposing too much structure, such as making everyone speak around the table. -Only listening to experts. People with various experience can provide great insight. -Thinking that brainstorming should only happen off-site. There's no reason it cannot be done in a meeting room. -Not embracing silliness. Silly ideas help foster the right environment for brainstorming. -Taking notes on every single detail. It takes you out of the brainstorming mindset. Some other mistakes that Kelley mentioned are not thinking that brainstorming can be done poorly and spending too much time in a brainstorming session.

I believe I had a good description of the problem, not too narrow not too broad. I also did some content-related homework by interviewing students about their berkeley time experience. I also built off some ideas by finding slight variations of them. For example I thought of a game app where students in the same class would fight against eachother; then I spun it into a new idea where students in the same class would cooperate and classes starting at the same time would compete. Some things I didn't do that I can definitely incorporate into the brainstorm on Monday are: numbering ideas, sketching or acting some ideas out, using physical space by writing ideas around the room (for the assignment I typed them up on a doc), and doing some warm up activity to get the juices flowing.

Alice Huynh - 2/3/2013 15:22:43

1) According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming?

The largest common mistake that companies make in brainstorming is allowing everyone to speak in turn. Brainstorming, according to Kelley, should not be a completely organized event, but rather a popcorn style like discussion. Kelley also notes that having “experts” inside the brainstorming event is actually detrimental to the brainstorming experience. Everyone should have equal status and crazy ideas that “experts” would easily excuse shouldn’t be knocked out of the discussion so easily. Personally, discounting crazy ideas is a common mistake that I never thought was a mistake at all. I thought brainstorming was made for coming up with plausible ideas and I never thought that crazy ideas could actually have value later in the design process. One common mistake that I personally make in my every day life is that I “write down everything”. I have a personal fear of forgetting what I hear so I tend to write down everything out of habit. Kelley argues against writing down everything because it “shifts your focus” towards old ideas rather than generating new ideas. I understand his argument and I agree with his reasoning behind not wanting brainstormers to write down everything.

1) Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you follow? Which ones didn't you follow? What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday?

One of the rules of Kelley’s that I did follow was the build and jump. I focused a lot on mobile applications in the beginning of my brainstorm, but later I attempted to jump to other forms of technology I could utilize during Berkeley Time. One of those instances was my use of summary slides. Another idea that I jumped to was the idea of “Speed Friending” which is more of a person-to-person interaction rather than just a single person on their mobile phone.

Some of Kelley’s rules that I didn’t follow was numbering my ideas, getting physical, and stretching my mental muscle. The reason that I didn’t stretch my mental muscle is because I thought as a single person brainstorming I didn’t find that exercise useful. I somewhat regret not consulting a group to help me brainstorm ideas for my design project so that I could get experience in brainstorming with a group. I also regret not getting physical with my ideas. If I had acted out my ideas that I brainstormed, I feel that I would have gotten better understanding of whether my idea would be useful or not.

Something that I would do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday is interact a lot more with other students so that we can brainstorm ideas together rather than just individual brainstorming. I’m excited to utilize the rule about supporting “wild ideas”. I think that it will be really interesting to hear some crazy ideas and expand on them. I agree with Kelley that crazy ideas can somewhat help to create better ideas further in the brainstorming process.

Christina Hang - 2/3/2013 15:33:06

The common mistakes in brainstorming include people believing that they know how to brainstorm. However, Kelley points how that people don’t think of brainstorming as a skill, so they often don’t get the full benefits of brainstorming. Another common mistake is that a brainstorm is structured and conducted as if it were a meeting; meaning the boss talks first or everybody gets a turn to speak. Also, brainstorming is not only for experts and professions on the topic, it is a mistake to leave out those that can potentially contribute useful insight based on their experiences. Other mistakes are writing everything down and leaving out silly ideas.

During my brainstorm for the individual design assignment, I focused on the problem, but my problem statement was probably too narrow. Instead of listing a lot of ideas for what students could do during Berkeley time, I probably should have thought of how Berkeley time could have been utilized more efficiently. I did number my ideas and followed Kelley’s “build and jump” rule to go back to certain ideas to stimulate more thoughts in the same general direction. But I didn’t try to sketch out the ideas, and I didn’t utilize my space and stayed on one piece of notebook paper. For the in-class group brainstorm, I will take the time to talk to the group and develop a good problem statement. I will also stay active and out of my chair to walk around and draw on the boards or pieces of papers posted on the walls. I will also be sure to write down all my crazy ideas.

Timothy Wu - 2/3/2013 16:31:18

According to Kelley, there were six common pitfalls that brainstormers fall into. The first pitfall is for the boss or leader of the group to set strict idea guidelines for the brainstorming session, which greatly inhibits creativity. The second pitfall is taking turns as if in a democratic process; the goal should be to have free-form flow of ideas with as little structure as possible. The third pitfall is to only trust experts on various matters; allow everyone to offer their own perspective. The fourth pitfall is to always do brainstorming sessions at an off-site, which could create inconvenient and expensive associations. The fifth pitfall is to restrict outrageous ideas; brainstorming sessions should allow all crazy ideas and for the members of the session to think as creatively as possible. Lastly, the final pitfall is for the manager or another member to be taking notes during the whole session; the goal is to be an active participant in the ideation process, not to be writing everything down.

Thinking about the brainstorm I conducted for my individual design assignment, I made use of Kelley's suggestions to number your ideas, not to debate or critique my ideas, having a brainstorming goal, and building and jumping. I found numbering my ideas to be particularly useful in being able to jump around different paradigms of thought. I set several brainstorming goals that corresponded to the different types of users, like the late-comer, the person who is always early, and the person who uses the time to schedule classes back to back. Building and jumping was useful when I started having a hard time thinking of ideas for a particular brainstorming goal, where I jumped to a different goal and maybe went back to an old goal later. Lastly, I made sure not to censor myself and to allow really outrageous ideas, like my idea for a lecture hall dating app.

Ideas that I didn't follow were the ideas of spatial remembrance, doing mental warm-ups, and getting physical. The reason why I didn't do these things was because I brainstormed alone for my design exercise, and I felt that these ideas are better suited for a team brainstorming session.

For the in-class group brainstorm, I think I will make good use of the ideas that I didn't follow during my design exercise. Putting up sketches on the walls seems like a great way to visualize the group's progress. In addition, the mental warm-ups will be greatly beneficial due to the fact that our group members will most likely not know each other. It will help put us in a more outgoing state of mind. Lastly, getting physical could be useful depending on where the ideation takes us. It may be useful to go outside and examine real life situations or to simulate what a real life situation would be like in our brainstorming session.

Tiffany Lee - 2/3/2013 17:11:42

According to Kelley the common mistakes in brainstorming are: having the boss start first and setting an agenda or boundaries, giving everyone a turn, only allowing experts in the brainstorming, going off-site, not allowing the imagination to run wild by stipulating boundaries, and writing everything down.

In my individual design assignment, I brainstormed by first talking with friends and trying to pick their brains and run potential ideas by them. Then I sat in front of my computer and just listed ideas on TextEdit until I came up with twelve ideas. The only rule I really followed was rule number 2 - I didn't critique my ideas on whether it would be a good idea or not or if it was implementable.

For the in-class group brainstorm on Monday, I would try to follow all the rules except for rule number 7, because in order to follow that rule we would have to have some idea already of what problem we would like to try and solve rather than trying to figure out a solution to a problem. Also, rule number 6 might take too long if we only have a limited amount of time to brainstorm. This means that instead of brainstorming on my laptop, mostly by myself, I would use paper and space with the help of my peers to generate ideas.

Elizabeth Hartoog - 2/3/2013 17:19:00

So some of the mistakes that brainstormers can make it to start critiquing or debating the ideas. Brainstorming is for coming up with ideas and not judging the validity or usefulness of any one idea. It's also important to frame the question outward instead of inward so that the ideas that are come up with have more value and focus. It's also very easy to simply write down ideas and skip the visual. Being visual allows for a better mental model of ideas that can help inspire new ones. Being physical just takes that one step further.

Another big mistake is having the boss or boss figure set the tone for the brainstorm. This limits the creativity of the underlings by forcing their ideas to comply with what they see as "what the boss wants". It's also important that you don't force people to talk unless they're willing and not to set limits on others. Another mistake is to try and limit the brainstormers to only experts in the field. Though expert advice is important when coming up with ideas, people in other fields can have insight to different perspectives of how to approach different problems. And the last mistake I'll list is curbing the silliness of the brainstormers. By allowing brainstormers to list the absurd and unnecessary, it allows new ideas to spring from them or bounce off of them which could lead to less silly and more useful ideas.

During the brainstorm for my assignment, I was not visual enough with my ideas. I would come up with an idea, write it down and then move on. Though I did number all of my ideas as Kelley suggested, I didn't put them on a spatial map that would allow me to branch off ideas more easily. They were simply taken down on a list. I also was a victim of the "boss" mentality. I only tried to come up with ideas that I thought would be useful. I removed any ideas that would be too silly or completely useless, and as a result I may have lost some ideas between the cracks.

For the group brainstorm, I want to make sure I hold onto all those silly ideas and hopefully this will lead to more creativity. I also want to try and create visuals for many more of the ideas instead of simply the one I pick.

Lishan Zhang - 2/3/2013 17:49:14

1. People often treat brainstorming as a check box, a threshold variable rather than a skill or art. They don’t know that brainstorming can be improved by continuous learning. They should exercise their brainstorming muscles more than once a month. In addition, people tend to make brainstorm a regular meeting and take notes on that. They often spend half a day to brainstorm, which is not efficient as the physical and mental energy cannot sustain that long. The optimum length for brainstorming should be one hour. Last but not least, brainstorm is not like a presentation or work, we didn’t actually spend a lot of money on it. It is more like an opportunity for teams to “blue sky” idea early in a project.


2. The rules I followed: (1). Sharpen the focus: Before I started, I had made a clear problem statement, which was tangible but not limited the possible solutions. (2). Number the ideas: This strategy motivated me and gauged a good fluid brainstorming session. (3). Build and Jump: When I designed the Berkeley time, I began with dividing my solutions into several small parts such as studying, entertainment and networking. Then I brainstormed based on different parts.

The rules I didn’t follow: (1). Playful rules: I always critiqued when I come out an idea that is not practical. So I ended up being tired of brainstorming quickly. (2). The Space Remember: Since the assignment was an individual brainstorm, I wrote all the ideas down on a small piece of paper and was invisible to others. (3). Stretch mental muscles: This rule aimed at group brainstorming, so it was not suitable for my individual work. (4). Get physical: I didn’t follow this rule since time was limited.

Do differently for in-class group brainstorm on Monday: (1). I will not critique or debate about the ideas of my team members. (2). I will write my ideas down in a white board or a large paper so that everyone in my team can see them clearly. (3). Since I didn’t work with my group member before, I will stretch mental muscles before we start brainstorming in a group like a fast-paced word game or content-related homework.

Joyce Liu - 2/3/2013 18:54:00

People overlook that brainstorming is a skill, an art—something that you’re always learning and can improve on. Other common problems include the following: allowing the boss to have the first say in everything, ensuring that everyone gets a turn, bringing in only experts to the brainstorming session, hosting the brainstorming session off-site, forbidding silliness, and writing down everything. Kelley writes that taking notes takes away from the session because it shifts your focus to the wrong side of the brain. His opinion about off-sites is that he doesn’t want team members to think that creativity and inspiration only happen when they’re at a special place—it should be common practice. His point about not letting the boss speak first was that the boss can silence the room, which would make people refrain from saying crazy ideas.

I followed Kelley’s suggestion of sharpening my focus. I tried to have a more specific, customer-focused brainstorm, where my customers were UC Berkeley students. I could have gone even more specific and catered my brainstorm towards different types of students—late ones vs. early ones. I also did not utilize space very effectively. I didn’t use post-its and sharpies, but rather I just sat in front of my computer and brainstormed by myself. Next time, I should try to meet up with someone to brainstorm so that we can bounce ideas off of one another and also build and jump. I numbered my ideas, which was helpful because it helped me gain momentum to get closer to 12. For the in-class group brainstorm I would make sure that we utilize the space effectively. I want to also try the build and jump method, or at least recognize the momentum and lulls. Since I probably don’t know the people whom I will be working with, it would be nice if we could play some warm-up games.


jeffery butler - 2/3/2013 20:13:48

1) Overall Kelley believes that the most common mistake people make about brainstorming is assuming that they are already know how to brainstorm. Kelly numerical lists six common mistakes that people make about brainstorming, in my own words: a. The boss shouldn’t speak first- if the boss speaks first they can restrict the flow of innovation by placing unnecessary restrictions on the product b. Everyone doesn’t necessarily need a turn to speak- when ideas are said in a rotation fashion the flow of innovation is synchronized rather than spontaneous. c. The brainstorming group should be diverse- more diversity more ideas, it’s as simple as that. d. Brainstorming locations shouldn’t always be offsite- if a company gets in the habit of always going offsite they get used to not being innovative in the office. e. Ideas should be silly- if they aren’t silly people will think more restrictively. f. Don’t write down every detail- writing everything down does not use the creative side of brain. 2) On my own individual design I used a few of the eight ideas Kelley mentioned. First off, I wrote down the exact idea that I was trying to accomplish. Secondly, I numbered my ideas on a sheet of paper which aided selection of my final idea. (This was originally an accident, but probably one of my favorite and useful ideas I read in the article). Lastly, I got physical with my design- I drew out some of my ideas to get more of a thorough conception of how these ideas apply to my objective.


Linda Cai - 2/3/2013 20:21:58

One of the first mistakes Kelley mentions is that everyone thinks they already brainstorm, but the problem is they do so infrequently or assume is it a practice that they no longer need to train or improve. Kelley also mentions 6 common mistakes that can kill a brainstorm: 1) Having the boss speak first, 2) Giving everyone a turn to talk (sequentially), 3) Only allowing ‘experts’ to attend the brainstorm, 4) Requiring an ‘off-site’ location to do brainstorming, 5) Forbidding ‘silly stuff’, 6) Writing down everything at the brainstorm.

Out of Kelley’s ‘Seven Secrets for Better Brainstorming’, I only followed two. I did number my ideas, partly because we were required to brainstorm at least 12 ideas and I wanted to make sure that I at least fulfilled the requirement. I also found it very helpful to number my ideas to better organize my thoughts. I also used ‘Build and Jump’ in my brainstorm session. When I found a good idea or though process, I continued down that path to fully explore the possibilities and write down ideas that were different enough to be considered separately later on. When I found that the idea wasn’t leading anywhere, I jumped to find a new, unrelated idea. I didn’t follow Kelley’s rules (1-2, 5-7). While I had an idea of what type of user I wanted to target and their needs, I started without a clear statement of the problem. In the in-class group brainstorm on Monday, I will try to make sure that we have a specific and well-honed statement of the problem before brainstorming solutions. Also, I actively critiqued my ideas as I was brainstorming and ruled out the silliest or laughable ideas that didn’t seem to deserve a spot on the list, and I will try not to debate my ideas and allow my playful ideas to be voiced. It was not until I read this article that I realized the potential and power of writing out your ideas around you, so I will try that in the class brainstorm. I didn’t do any mental warmups, so hopefully in class we will have a ‘show-and-tell’ of relevant options and material varieties at the beginning. I also brainstormed alone and did it all in my mind, with no visual activities such as sketching or bodystorming, so I hope to do so on Monday.

Jian-Yang Liu - 2/3/2013 20:23:23

1) The most common mistake in brainstorming is that people believe they already do it. Sometimes they treat it as a sort of check box, something that should be done only because it is necessary. Other mistakes occur during brainstorming that can kill the brainstorming: having the boss speak first (which can severely limit the brainstormer), having everyone taking a turn (instead of allowing ideas to flow freely), believing that only experts in the specific field can have great input, trying to brainstorm off-site (which can cause employees to think that creativity and inspiration can’t occur in an office), limiting the brainstormer to no “silly” ideas, writing down everything instead of sketching or doodling (to increase creativity).

2) Of Kelley’s rules and suggestions, I’ve followed “Sharpen the focus,” “playful rules,” write down ideas in a medium visible to the entire group, and “stretch your mental muscles.” I didn’t number my ideas, “build and jump,” or “get physical” with the brainstorm. What I would do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday, as opposed to my own brainstorm, would be to follow Kelley’s rules that I didn’t follow, from building on the idea with small variations to encourage more possibilities to bringing in everything that might even, on a slim chance, be of help to the brainstorm as well as building crude models of the concept and acting out skits to find out more opportunities for improvement.

Haotian Wang - 2/3/2013 20:23:27

I followed the suggestion to have wild ideas and to number my ideas. I didn't follow the rule to make things visual with sketches, to stretch my mental muscles, and to put everything down onto a physical space. In my brainstorming, I basically wrote down a description of every idea that came to my mind. While this allows me personally to recall what the ideas were (even allows me to recall visually what I thought they would look like), this would not work for group-brainstorming because the group needs just more of a reminder of what I was brainstorming, they need a visual model to comprehend it. So on monday, I would more visually brainstorm by drawing/sketching my ideas, as well as putting my ideas on a physical space for better remembering.

Soyeon Kim (Summer) - 2/3/2013 20:24:44

<According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming?> First, Kelley emphasized how people underestimate brainstorming. Not only the majority do brainstorming about once a month, they easily overlook the possibility of brainstorming by dealing it same as being able to ride a bicycle or tying one’s shoes. She makes it clear that brainstorming is a skill. Second, people often brainstorm with a poorly designed problem statement. The quality of a problem statement can have a huge impact on the quality of the brainstorming; too specific problem statement (i.e. spill-proof coffee cup lids) can easily limit possible solutions. Topics of brainstorming should be more open-ended, focusing outward on things like service enhancement and customer need. Third, people take brainstorming as a debate or a regular meeting. According to Kelley, brainstorming is not a time for taking turns to speak or starting to critique. Also, wild ideas should be encouraged at all times and expertise should not be emphasized for maximizing creativity.


<Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you follow?> I mainly followed “Number Your Ideas” and “Build and Jump”. First, I numbered all ideas and encouraged all brainstorming members to reach certain quantity of the ideas. Second, I built on one idea by coming up with variation of that idea. For example, I went from matchmaking app to a friend making app. I also jumped from one idea to another idea, from academic app to entertaining app.

<Which ones didn't you follow?> I failed to follow “Playful Rules” and “The Space Remembers”. To be honest, there were times where the brainstorming was paused because me or other member criticized a certain idea for being too radical or not plausible, which violates “Playful Rules” that mentions to not to start critique or debate ideas. Also, I didn’t follow “The Space Remembers”; I was taking notes on my computer in a way that was not entirely visible to the whole group.

<What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday?> Now that I’ve learned a way to get the most out of the brainstorming, I’ll follow the principles while avoiding “Six Ways to Kill a Brainstormer”. Especially I will try my best to follow “Playful Rules” which I failed to do so from last brainstorming for the individual design assignment.


David Seeto - 2/3/2013 20:40:47

IDEO teaches us great things to do when brainstorming: only have one conversation, build on ideas. Set the problem statement at an appropriate level of specificity focused outwards towards customers needs or providing a service. Do not judge or debate. Have a set of rules. Number ideas and aim for 100/hour. Build ideas and jump to others depending on the energy of the group. Write stuff up for everyone to see, taking advantage of spatial memory. Do warm ups like show and tell or research beforehand. Bring in physical products, materials to build a mock product, or bodystorming. When practiced, all the things mentioned above contribute to the brainstormer effect, a group experience in which energy runs high and people are driven, adaptable, and excited. This net energy can be misdirected however if the boss speaks first or if each person is forced to talked. In addition, allowing only experts or doing it offsite encourages the lack of variety when it comes to people and also for people to not innovate onsite. Finally, writing everything down or even restricting silly ideas will make the brainstomer stagnant.

I did not set the level of specificity correctly, making it difficult to come up with ideas. In addition, I didn't write anything down unless I had a solid idea (although I did number my ideas). I also did homework before by interviewing people and trying to find insights from what they were saying. Of Kelley's six rules however, I only violated one: no silly ideas. Perhaps I was getting ahead and thinking of how an app would actually was going to be implemented.

Whatever the reason, I do endeavor to push for a more positive energy Monday. I will encouraged both myself and others. Finally, I hope to draw and doodle down ideas more in hopes that will lead to building ideas or to finding a logical jump to another idea.

Ryan Rho - 2/3/2013 21:58:59

According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming?

One of common mistakes brainstormers have is that they have already done it and thought of it as a simple trivial task. Some people misunderstand that enumerating ideas in a note without frequent interaction is brainstorming, which is not productive and effective. In addition, some brainstorming is ruined by taking the whole lead by the boss, which prevents other to talk about ideas. Moreover, some group may prefer experts do the brainstorming, which may prevent all people state their fresh ideas. Also, they can be less productive when they brainstorm off-site.

Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you follow? Which ones didn't you follow? What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday?

I believe I was open-minded about wild thoughts. For example, I thought of making a video game of smashing the instructor in class, and including word 'porn' to entertain users. I have realized the power of wild ideas as it turned out that my chose idea is actually 'Food Porn.' In addition, I believe I followed build and jump. Even though I brainstormed alone, I have tried to be constructive on an idea and also try to jump to another idea at a certain time in order to produce a variety of ideas. Furthermore, although this may not be as effective as the example in the reading, I numbered the ideas so that it's not hard to go back to previous ideas.

In contrast, I did consider any limitation of constraints. When it comes to brainstorming, I did not write down all the ideas that I know they are technically not possible. In addition, rather than using a wide space where lots of ideas can be visualized, I used a small notebook and think about each idea individually, which may not be mutually constructive each other. Probably it would be better to use a big white board. In class, I would especially like to use a big note or white board in order to visualize all the ideas effectively.


Ben Dong - 2/3/2013 22:32:30

Some common mistakes in brainstorming include lacking a clear problem statement, critiquing too early, not numbering ideas, not using visual space, having a boss set the agenda, introducing too much order, listening only to expert opinions, limiting the discussion/tone, and trying to write down everything.

During my individual design assignment, I had a clear problem statement, was open to all ideas, and numbered the ideas. However, I could've used more visual space effectively instead of just jotting down notes, and it might've been helpful to get more physical. Brainstorming with more people would allow me to use more of Kelley's suggestions, so for the in-class group brainstorm, I'm hoping to get more physical and use the visual space around more effectively. It might also help to do some warmup exercises.

Arvind Ramesh - 2/3/2013 22:37:31

Kelley looks at brainstorming in a completely different way that most people. First of all, he views it as a skill that can be improved and mastered, not a task that someone can just do anytime and be good at. There are a few main ideas he states are important for a good brainstormer:

1. Don't limit anybody's ideas in any way. 2. Make EVERYTHING visual. 3. Refocus the brainstorm when needed.

He goes into a great amount of detail in each of these three points, breaking them down into 7 guidelines. He goes on to say the most common mistakes are not following these three overarching guidelines. His examples include letting the boss control the sessions, giving everybody a turn by going in order, only inviting experts, doing it in some special location, preventing silly ideas, and writing every single thing down.

As far as my brainstorming session for my design assignment, I have to admit I didn't do that well according to Kelley. I didn't make anything visual, I just typed whatever idea I had into my computer. I also didn't number my ideas or have a specific focus. Not having a specific problem in mind was probably my worst transgression, as it took me a good amount of time to come up with just a few ideas.

For the in-class brainstorm, I would definitely define the problem at the very beginning. Then I would make sure I write what I can down on post-it notes and give them all numbers, as well as noting which ones are worthy of further inspection. Most importantly, I would make everything visual. I would try to sketch out my ideas on pieces of paper to get a basic idea of how it would look


Mukul Murthy - 2/3/2013 23:07:35

According to Kelley, one of the common mistakes in brainstorming is treating it like a skill you "know" rather than a skill that you can be bad or good at. Just because someone knows the basics of brainstorming doesn't mean they are very good at it; they should always try to improve themselves and practice brainstorming regularly. Another common mistake is having a problem too specific or not specific enough - the former doesn't need brainstorming, and the latter is too open to brainstorm efficiently. Kelley also lists ways to kill a brainstormer. These generally involve preferential treatment or cutting off creativity. In a brainstormer, people should go in with an open mind and be willing to accept ideas from everyone, not just "experts" or "bosses." To avoid cutting off creativity, the group should encourage odd or wild ideas and let the discussion flow as naturally as possible.

I think I did a good job of keeping my focus sharp, numbering my ideas, and encouraging wild ideas. I remember from class that numbering my ideas was recommended for discussion, but even when I was just thinking about it to myself I still tended to think about the ideas as numbers. I was also not afraid to note wild ideas, such as students bringing snacks to class and exchanging. I also tried to build and jump as much as I could, by asking myself things like "how else could someone get to class on time?" after thinking through one way they could.

Two of the steps I did not do well in my brainstorm were using my space and getting physical. I did most of my brainstorming on my laptop, and took notes in Notepad. While this was an efficient way to note down ideas, I did nothing to organize relations between ideas or sketch out designs. Next time I brainstorm, I plan to either do it on paper or drawing on my tablet, so I can freely draw, sketch, doodle, and make connections. Another thing I would change is that I would write down too much. At first, I would write down not only the ideas they came up with, but why they were good ideas, who they would benefit, and how they might be implemented. I realized that those were later steps, and that all I needed was a quick overview of the idea and I could come back to the good ones later.

Cong Chen - 2/3/2013 23:51:00

According to Kelley, some common mistakes in brainstorming are: 1. Not having a well defined focus. This prevents people from spending more time thinking versus trying to stay on topic. 2. Critiquing other people's ideas during a brainstorm. This limits people's creativity and can impair people's ability to come up with good ideas. 3. Boss getting to speak first. This can limit people's creativity juices. 4. Everyone getting a turn. Does not appropriately handle the flow of brainstorming 5. Experts only. Brainstorming requires people of different backgrounds to come up with the best ideas. 6. No silly-stuff. Sill ideas and be stepping stones to much better and solid ideas.

For my brainstorm of my individual design assignment, I followed Kelley's rules in not limiting ideas to practical ones, not critiquing other people's ideas during the brainstorm, having a "boss" speak first, everyone taking turns, and limiting the discussion to experts only. I brainstormed with two other non-CS friends and I deliberately encouraged them to give out any ideas so that we could come up with a healthy list of ideas; it was much harder than we thought. We definitely did not do "boss" speak first or limiting the discussion to experts as none of us were experts.

We did not follow Kelley's rule of having a well defined focus or meeting in the same physical location. We based our brainstorm very loosely and generally around the topic, "Berkeley Time". I feel like this really made it difficult to come up with new ideas that could take advantage of "Berkeley Time". Another thing was that we did our brainstorm over Skype. Thus, we probably were not as focused as we should have been. Being in the same room would have helped our ability to come up with ideas.

For the brainstorm on Monday, I definitely plan on trying to have a more defined focus as this will help greatly with simply coming up with ideas. Naturally, we will all be in the same location. I also plan on continue being supportive and not being critical on ideas as "silly ones" can lead to good final ideas.

André Crabb - 2/3/2013 23:59:41

Kelley lists six common mistakes that should never be done in a brainstormer. The first one, and I thought this was rather funny, was to not let the boss speak first. The boss could say something related to money-making that could hinder creativity from the group. The second was making sure everyone gets a turn to speak. Going one-by-one would not only be slow, but could also hinder ideas from others who would have to wait until their turn to speak (brainstormers are supposed to be fast-paced). Idea three was only allowing experts into the group. Leaving the experts to do what they do best is fine, you want creative people with a lot of experience in a brainstormer. Four was to hold it off-site. A beach house is definitely not necessary for creativity. Mistake number five, and perhaps one of the more strongly-stressed ones, is "no silly stuff". Crazy and wild ideas are very welcome! Even if there is no way they could be implemented, one could spark a viable idea in another member of the group. The last mistake is writing down everything. Ideas and sketches seemed to be the only things that should be written down. Anything more could be excessive as well as distracting to the person writing.


For my brainstorm, I didn't exactly follow what Kelley suggested. (I wish I read this article sooner!) I sharpened the focus by deciding to design a mobile app that could be used by professors and/or students to be productive in those 10 minutes. I didn't really come up with anything wild, nor did I number my ideas, warm-up, or "get physical" (though I am a student myself!). I did bounce some ideas off of a couple different friends here and there.

For the in-class brainstorm, I would definitely encourage my group to strongly follow Kelley's suggestions. I'd start with a warm-up, then encourage our minds to run wild, and think of dozens of fun, crazy, and some great viable ideas!

Eun Sun (Annie) Shin - 2/4/2013 0:07:27

According to Kelley, common mistakes in brainstorming are: - Not allocating enough time for brainstorming - Debating and shooting down ideas (quickly) - Setting boundaries - Sharing ideas one at a time in a democratic manner under a time limit per speaker - Writing down everything (focusing too much on note taking rather than brainstorming ideas)

When conducting my individual design assignment, I followed a few of Kelley's rules. All students were given a good description of the problem, which helped us focus--not too narrowly or broadly. I also focused outward on the customers' needs, rather than focusing inward on beating competitors and making a profitable app. I also did not discourage or criticize any ideas. Meanwhile, I did not number my ideas. I did not build upon some of my ideas to create more new ones, and I did not use space or objects to enhance brainstorming. For the in-class group brainstorm on Monday, I will try to use the space in the Woz, play around with objects, and move around to get better ideas.

Winston Hsu - 2/4/2013 0:10:46

According to Kelly, common brainstorming mistakes include: trying to make it too democratic and fair, trying to write down everything, and limiting or throwing out crazy ideas. When I did my own brainstorm, I followed his suggestions of trying to build off ideas from one another and trying to keep focused on the problem, but I didn't follow his ideas about numbering ideas or physically drawing out ideas. I also may have rejected a lot of crazier ideas too quickly. I think for the in-class brainstorm I would definitely like to try the numbering and using post-its to keep track of the ideas.

Zeeshan Javed - 2/4/2013 0:21:15

According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming?

There are six common brainstorming mistakes that Kelley mentions in her article. The first mistake is letting the boss speak first in the session. When the boss does this he sets the corporate agenda, boundaries, and idea that may mislead the barnstormers from coming up with ideas that are more diverse. The second is the idea that “everyone gets a turn.” This act of forcing ideas and equating all ideas to one another is a waste of time according to Kelley and her experience. The third pitfall is bringing in self-proclaimed experts in their field to the session and only granting them the right to brainstorm. A person ends up missing out on good opportunities if the members of each session are so uniform in their backgrounds. Doing it off-site is another pitfall. Brainstorming can serve extremely beneficial if members are able to draw inspiration from the people around them. If ideas are too silly, the seriousness of the brainstorming experience erodes; this is another pitfall. Finally writing everything down is another fault that can seriously distract from the creative process.

Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you follow? Which ones didn't you follow? What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday?

In reflection of my individual design assignment, I can recall that the first suggestion that I followed was the aspect of numbering ones ideas. Kelley comments that doing this “motivates the participants” and “gauges the fluency” of a completed brainstorm. Numbering ideas was helpful for me in that it made the process very easy to keep track of what I was doing. I also did my best to not critique or debate the ideas I had in my head before writing them down. This sped up the process and allowed me to write a broader set of ideas down. Another suggestion I followed was drawing diagrams to help guide my ideas. The rules I did follow that Kelley advised against was “writing down everything” which I had seemed to do. For the in-class brainstorm this Monday, I would definitely be sure to take the session very seriously and do my best to channel good ideas through using the “spatial techniques” that Kelley suggests, be as visual as possible, and to number our ideas to channel our consistency.


Cory Chen - 2/4/2013 0:23:35

The common mistakes in brainstorming are:

  • Having the boss speak first - This limits the ideas that people can suggest because the fact that the boss starts it sets the tone of the brainstorm and people are less inclined to make any far-out suggestions
  • Having everybody take turns speaking - This doesn't allow for an organic production of ideas and is too slow
  • Prioritizing "experts" during brainstorming - Experts don't always have the best insights into the products so you probably want different people.
  • Only brainstorming away from the office - You don't to send the message that the office is a dead-end for creativity
  • Not allowing silly ideas - The brainstorming should still be fun and enjoyable to do
  • Writing down every single thing that gets said - You are activating a different part of your brain if you do this, and you will have a hard time contributing to the creation of ideas


During my brainstorm with my friends, I honestly think I only followed the "Number your ideas" rule. There wasn't a big priority on framing the questions correctly, keeping people focused, or actively directing the flow of ideas ("build and jump"). Also, I noticed that I would sometimes shoot down the ideas of my friends too quickly without even writing them down and giving the ideas a chance to be iterated upon. I also confined myself to listing ideas in my notebook so I didn't take advantage of the space or get physical during the brainstorm. For the brainstorm on Monday I would definitely want to get ideas out in a bigger space and be more accepting of other people's ideas. I'll also try to direct the brainstorm in productive ways

Kimberly White - 2/4/2013 0:34:12

Generally speaking, Kelley implies that the most common mistakes are having too many rules, like defining too specific of a problem, putting limits (we need to be able to produce it), or structuring who speaks when. Shooting down or debating ideas is another common problem. To brainstorm well, the brainstormers need to be unrestricted, allowed to come up with crazy ideas, and able to say whatever comes to mind.

On the individual assignment, I probably left the goal/problem a little too broad, aiming for ideas that somehow related to Berkeley time. I tried to write down whatever came to mind, even when it didn't seem like it would work. I did shoot down some ideas because they seemed too similar to others that were listed, or were too close to the examples from the assignment. When asking interviewees what apps they would like for Berkeley time, I tried not to shoot down or reject any ideas. Most of Kelley's rules didn't apply, since there wasn't really an official group or time for brainstorming during the original assignment.

Jin Ryu - 2/4/2013 0:43:25

Some common mistakes in brainstorming according to Kelley are: 1) setting limits, the agenda, and boundaries to the brainstorm session, especially because of the boss 2) partitioning time for everybody to speak at least once in a round-robin fashion 3) restricting brainstorm sessions to only people with an "expert" background 4) brainstorming away from the environment or location of interest where the idea will most likely be used 5) shooting down radical or bizarre ideas because they are bad, and 6) taking notes down on everything instead of focusing on thinking and contributing.

Some of Kelley's guidelines I followed were "sharpening the focus", "playful rules", and "build and jump". When brainstorming with my friends, I tried to narrow down our discussion from the broad question of "what do students like to do?" or even "what can berkeley students do to fill up their 10 minute gap?" to taking one idea at a time like "what are some ways that can help students study in a brief time before lecture?" or "how can students connect with each other better before/after class?" for further elaboration until we ran out of things to say. I rarely dismissed any of the ideas that we came up with, even if it could be outrageously difficult to implement such as one of our ideas allowing for students to earn one on one time with their professor as a reward. Instead, I looked for alternatives that were similar but continued that train of thought with an open mind. Only when it seemed like we discussed it all or we were out of ways for that subject (topics like helping students study, entertainment, planning, managing personal things), then I suggested a different concept to start another round of brainstorming. I also numbered some of the ideas, but mainly at the end instead of while we were brainstorming. His rules that I didn't manage to follow were using space to draw and write out our brainstorming, and stretching our mental muscles. I mainly wrote the ideas and a brief description or concept down in a small notebook for myself, and discussion was mainly verbal. We did not share visuals, and most of it were mental notes. The closest thing to a warm-up practice of the mind was the interview I performed on my friends (as in what they did during berkeley time and what their student habits and interests were like) before they helped me brainstorm. Otherwise, we didn't play any brainstorming games or research beforehand and just went straight into thinking up ideas. We also didn't do any "bodystorming" or acting some of the ideas out either. In class on Monday, I would brainstorm a little differently by using more visuals (drawing the ideas out), doing some warm-up brain exercises beforehand, and maybe physically experimenting out good ideas to test it as proof of concept.

Brian L. Chang - 2/4/2013 0:55:58

Kelley lists many common mistakes in his reading. Some of them are having a topic that is too narrow, focusing inwardly rather than on a user need/enhancement, critiquing, not controlling momentum, going around in a circle, and having no silly ideas.

I had a good focus on what my users needed and what good improve their Berkeley time experience after talking with them which was very helpful when it came to the brainstorm. I, however, did not try to create any wild ideas or try to be very physical with my ideas. On Monday, I will try to be more physical by maybe using post-its and try to think of more wild ideas to solve the problem at hand.

Elise McCallum - 2/4/2013 1:30:12

(1) One of the most common mistakes in brainstorming is assuming that you already know how to brainstorm. Other common mistakes include: not brainstorming often enough, allowing the boss to speak first, ensuring every one has a turn, only allowing experts to put forth ideas, having a brainstorm away from the usual work area, and writing down every idea developed during the session.

(2) During my individual assignment, I did encounter a few of Kelley's pitfalls. I definitely wrote down every idea I developed during the session, although I did refine them for my final project. I also took the project off-site by doing most of the brainstorming in my room (where I rarely spend Berkeley time) instead of in class or en route to class as I would normally. I did, however, follow Kelley's suggestions of numbering ideas and "build and jump". I often started at one idea and thought of ways to expand it, make it better, refine it, or jump to another idea. One thing I would do different on Monday is to try and come up with more ideas and not be as fixated on writing down every idea that is tossed out there. I also hope to ensure that no one person dominates the brainstorm and that everyone is encouraged to let their ideas flow (without being forced to take turns).

Achal - 2/4/2013 2:04:42

1. There are a few mistakes, though the main is that people think they already know how to brainstorm, and that it is not an art but rather similar to "tying your shoes." More specifically, the common mistakes are: letting the boss speak first, taking turns, asking for expertise, going off-site, criticizing ideas for being silly, and writing too much.

2. What I didn't follow: I think I still threw out quite a few ideas for being too wild, which I shouldn't have done. I took down notes on my laptop at first, before I switched to some pieces of paper. I also didn't draw much, which I believe would have spurred some more interest in various ideas. It also seemed that the discussion was very broad, as the question was "what can you do during berkeley time", rather than something more specific.

What I did follow: I spent a decent amount of time with a few people talking about various ideas, without pushing the discussion as a leader, and got a large number of ideas in a rather short amount of time. We didn't go anywhere fancy, which I agree would have been counterproductive (not to mention rather difficult, since we're in college).

On Wednesday, I'd do the first few things differently: more crazy ideas and less criticizing, while also drawing and moving more. Apart from that, I would also like to narrow the question down a bit more to find specific possible ideas.

Scott Stewart - 2/4/2013 2:13:26

The common mistakes that Kelley points out specifically are letting the boss speak first, making sure everyone gets a specific turn, only allowing experts to talk, doing brainstormers off-site, shooting down silly ideas, and writing everything down. Essentially, Kelley warns against constricting idea formation or aiming the discussion towards a predetermined solution instead of just letting ideas flow and allowing those ideas to lead to a solution. The other mistake is to not brainstorm enough, or not warm up correctly, which can cause brainstorming sessions to lack productivity when they are used.

While I was brainstorming for my own assignment, I followed Kelley's rule of not censoring silly ideas. I wrote down all of the ideas that I had, even if they seemed like they wouldn't be a good idea or would be hard to implement. I didn't follow Kelley's advice of drawing ideas or using physical space. When I had an idea, I simply wrote it down on a list, but didn't do any sketches or anything else visual until I had already picked the idea that I wanted to expand and design. For the in-class brainstorm, numbering ideas will be very helpful when working with other people, even though I didn't number my ideas for the design assignment. I would also use physical space and visual ideas more to communicate better with other people and to spawn new ideas that are built upon the old ones.

Yong Hoon Lee - 2/4/2013 2:32:35

The common mistakes in brainstorming, in terms of the group dynamic, that Kelley provides all have the effect that they limit the creativity of the group in some way. The six points mentioned at the end of the article are all mistakes made by groups in brainstorming, as well as the small point just before about negativity. In summary, the points include: being too negative, imposing constraints before the brainstorm session starts, being too democratic in the brainstorm and ensuring everyone gets a say (thus limiting the momentum of the session), selecting only "experts" for the brainstorm, going to a different location (which may distract the group or instill a false mindset of having to be on vacation in order to brainstorm), discouraging bizarre ideas, and taking notes which are too extensive. All of these mistakes limit the creativity of the group. For instance, negativity can sap creativity by creating an atmosphere in which some group members feel uncomfortable sharing their ideas, while compulsively taking notes on the brainstorm will not leave you with any opportunity to be creative. Other than those points at the end of the article, Kelley also mentions some other mistakes in the bulk of the chapter. For instance, he states that a mistake that some groups make is to build on an idea too long, or jump to a new idea too quickly, so that either the energy of the group gets sapped, or the full creative potential of the group is not tapped. Another mistake that Kelley mentions is that brainstorms can have the tendency to be solely based on words, but the most effective brainstorms are those which are visual, with many sketches and models.

During the brainstorm I conducted for my individual design assignment, the most striking example of a suggestion we did not follow was to go for a large quantity of ideas, as well as to encourage extremely "out-there" ideas. The friends I brainstormed with and I had a tendency to preselect ideas, in that when we had an idea, we would often think about it before sharing it with the others, so that there were many pauses, and thus no momentum. We also did not number our ideas, and often did not build on each others' ideas. We also did not incorporate sketches or an element of space in the brainstorm. We did, however, avoid some of the mistakes mentioned, namely in that we were not overly democratic, and did not discourage strange ideas as a group (though that did happen individually). In essence, we did not follow very many of his suggestions, so there is a lot that I could fix during the group brainstorm. First and foremost, I will censor my ideas much less, and try to present ideas which might seem odd, so as to facilitate the creativity of my group and provide a jumping-off point for them. Furthermore, I will attempt to incorporate sketches and drawings in the brainstorm, as well as an element of physicality by using the space around us, which will be easier as we will physically be in a space where that will be facilitated. Finally, I, along with my groupmates, will ensure that our ideas are numbered and that the group has a clear focus before starting the brainstorm. Implementing these suggestions will be easier because I will be part of a group of like-minded peers who are aware of these brainstorming practices and are looking to implement them as well. By incorporating Kelley's various suggestions, I am confident that my group brainstorm will be more effective than my previous one.

Tananun Songdechakraiwut - 2/4/2013 3:34:07

1. 1.1 To start brainstorming by the boss' speaking which may set the agenda and thus limit the brainstormer. 1.2 It is a mistake to let people get turns in brainstorming because it is just not a brainstorm! 1.3 When bringing someone to a brainstormer, better choose someone who has the insight you are looking for, not an expert with good degree. 1.4 It is not necessary that good brainstormers only happen off-site. So don't waste time and money on some amazing off-site places 1.5 Silly stuff is bad for brainstorming 1.6 Taking note or everything down while brainstorming 1.7 Starting with an unclear statement that is too narrow with obviously known answer, or too product-focused. 1.8 Critiquing ideas during brainstorming session is also one mistake 1.9 Think of a brainstorm as a regular meeting is a mistake 1.10 A brainstorm shouldn't be longer than an hour or sometimes an hour and a half

2. Kelley's rules and suggestions I did follow were 1. I started my brainstorm with a clear statement focused on specific needs of Cal students. Briefly, my topic was to help the students spent Berkeley time productively without negatively effects on their studies such as being late. 2. My brainstorm definitely was not a critiquing or debating. We freely exchanged ideas with joy. 3. I also numbered my ideas up to 14 in total. 4. I didn't write everything down but just a few words or some drawing. Ones I didn't follow were 1. We did get a turn to speak up one minute each. 2. We started to build momentum and suddenly the discussion became less active and stopped. Basically, we hadn't tried "build and jump" trick yet. 3. Since we only had a small whiteboard, we need to erase some idea when the board was full. 4. We didn't have a warm-up practice before the brainstorm. 5. We also didn't get physical. On Monday, I would keep doing things that are consistent with Kelly's and try stuff as suggested by Kelly but not followed by me during my first design assignment. For example, I would write up my ideas and put it on the wall so it's visible to others instead of using a limited-space whiteboard. I might try to act out topic-related pattern or Kelly's "bodystorming". And I would do some pre homework if I know the topic and its content. Finally, everyone getting a turn is definitely the worst idea to do.

Aarthi Ravi - 2/4/2013 7:53:16

Some of the common mistakes includes the following: - The facilitator or the boss at a brainstormer sets a narrow agenda and limits the scope for the participants - A brainstormer is often treated as a regular meeting and participants are asked to speak in turns - It sometimes includes only experts thus leaving out some creative people who could have come up with wild solutions - Brainstorming is done at expensive off-site locations which is meaningless - No silly ideas are encouraged - Some participants takes down notes meticulously and seldom participate actively in a brainstorming session

Some of Kelly's rules I followed during my brainstorming session: - Built and jumped on my initial ideas - Numbered my ideas

Rules that I didn't follow - Could have sharpened my focus more. My focus was designing Berkeley time for students who come early to class and those who come late. Could have focused on just one of them. - Did not visualize my ideas. - Did not write down ideas on a white board but took down notes as I brainstormed

I would first set the focus of the discussion. Visualize ideas by drawing quick mock ups.Make use of white boards so that one can see the ideas listed so that it would easier to build upon existing ideas.

Bryan Pine - 2/4/2013 10:11:57

1) Kelley directly identifies 6 common mistakes in brainstorming that will "kill" a brainstorm:

  1. Having the boss speak first.  If the group leader sets the agenda and boundaries too strictly, it can stifle creativity.
  2. Trying to allow everyone equal speaking time.  This requires a rigid structure and discourages the "building" of ideas on one another.  It also forces people to be creative on the spot, which never gets the best results.  If you do this, your brainstorm essentially becomes a sharing of the results of previously conducted mini one-person brainstorms.
  3. Only inviting experts.  Experts don't always have the most original ideas because they may be far removed from the actual problem you are trying to solve with the brainstorm.  For example, a marketing VP might be too rigid in his thinking, immediately judging every idea on cost and feasibility.  It is better to have a mix of experts and non-experts to get a range of experiences
  4. Going to an off-site location to do your brainstorm.  Although a change of pace to foster creativity sounds like a good idea, Kelley's point is that it sets up an artificial boundary that makes it hard to be creative when you are back at the office.  You don't want the creative energies to stop when you leave whatever off-site location you went to, because you often need to do quick additional brainstorms to solve problems as they arise.
  5. Only allowing well-thought-out ideas to be presented.  That is not the point of a brainstorm; you can't get serious volume if you reject most of the ideas.  Even when you can immediately tell an idea is bad, when you allow it to stay someone may use it as inspiration for another idea.  Most of the time even a bad idea has some good elements, or highlights a specific problem that needs to be solved.
  6. Writing down everything.  You want to write down the ideas (with numbers!), but you don't need to transcribe the meeting.  It slows everything down, and can make people self-conscious.  The best way is to keep records of the important things (the ideas) and forget the rest.

2) I conducted my individual design assignment brainstorm with another student over a period of a whole day. We found that there were times when we just couldn't think of anything at all and times when multiple good ideas came almost at the same time. We used a shared google doc to store our numbered ideas.

  Our first mistake was probably trying to do it with only 2 people.  That was probably why we had so many lulls when neither of us could think of anything.  When that happened, we would break and come back to it later.  We also could have set a sharper focus; our focus was pretty much "things that might make Berkeley Time better in some way", which probably wasn't very effective.  We did well building ideas when we had ideas to build off of, but we were slow to jump to other trains of thought when we got stuck.  We also didn't make many sketches or use other visual tactics, and we didn't warm-up in any way before attempting to brainstorm.
  For the next group brainstorm, we won't have to worry about the number of people; we will have our team and that's it.  I think where we can improve significantly over my individual brainstorm is by spending a few minutes coming up with a clear focus before we begin.  I will also try to sketch out my ideas to make them more tangible and coherent.  I didn't have problems before keeping a relaxed, open tone, but that might be more difficult when brainstorming with people I don't know so I will try to do my part to keep the mood light.

Marco Grigolo - 2/4/2013 10:31:03

He got 6 ideas that block creativity in Brainstorm: Boss speak first (hierarchy in a group is very bad to allow others to express ideas), everyone get a turn (while waiting you could forget, or with no chance to reply another you can't improve his ideas), Experts only (very narrow mindset, since everyone thinks alike), Do it offside (want to keep it near office where you can continue work after brainstorm), No silly stuff (even if silly, can be great gateway to brilliant ideas) and write down everything (if you write too much, you cannot participate effectively)

Regarding our Brainstorm for the first individual assignment: we followed rules 1, 3, 4 (I was very happy when I took impossible (for today technology) idea of searching for free seat in class using and build from there to find technological feasible ideas to find a seat with sensors etc), 5 (even if we had only a blackboard, not whole walls), but we missed 2 (I criticized Tenzin ideas as unfeasible before to build on them), 6 (we started cold, and was tough at begin) and 7 (no really any item/previous experience, except from what we remember usually doing in those 10 minutes). In the Monday Brainstorm I would definitely try to "stretch our mental muscles" first, since I will be probably with people I do not know, and "build and jump" better, since it is very hard (and therefore needs more training) and very useful in using the output of the brainstorm to produce quality ideas. I also hope to have a bit more space to write down ideas, so instead of a list, we can really draw diagrams.

Avneesh Kohli - 2/4/2013 10:34:31

Kelley mentioned a number of common mistakes that are made during the brainstorming process. One is started off the brainstorm with a problem statement that is either too broad or too narrow. Doing so either drastically limits the creativity and possibilities of the brainstormers, or doesn’t generate enough ideas that might actually solve the problem at hand. Another common mistake is being critical of ideas during the brainstorm. Since the idea of the session is to generate as many ideas as possible, participants can’t afford to spend time evaluating the feasibility of one suggestion. Additionally, it likely will diminish the willingness of the person who proposed the idea to fully participate in the rest of the brainstorm. Running a brainstorm like a normal meeting is also a common mistake, as a brainstorm needs to be far more creative and less structured than a normal meeting. The purpose is to generate ideas you couldn’t normally generate in a regular setting, which necessitates an environment optimized for such thinking. Taking notes is also a mistake, but this shouldn’t be confused with writing down and numbering ideas. It’s important to keep track of the ideas, but notes shouldn’t be kept like they normally would in a meeting.


Two techniques I followed during my individual design brainstorming session were numbering my ideas and selecting a specific problem statement. In numbering my ideas, I was able to easily jump back and forth when comparing some of my ideas and thinking about them within the same context. While it wouldn’t have been too difficult to do without numbers since there were only a dozen ideas, it certainly facilitated the process. I also tried to select a problem statement that focused on increasing the productivity of a student during Berkeley time. I didn’t limit productivity to location (classroom vs walking to class) or whether it increased productivity with regards to school, but I did want my ideas to be within the bounds of student productivity. I think that really framed my ideas well, and while it was initially a struggle to come up with ideas, I found that many of ideas were half-decent. Suggestions I didn’t follow were doing some sort of mental warm up, walking around a room and writing down ideas in physical space, and trying to have few intentionally silly ideas. For me, I think doing a mental warm up on Monday for the in-class group brainstorm will definitely be helpful, and is something I’d like to do with my group.

Eric Ren - 2/4/2013 10:39:18

In the reading, Kelley points out many common mistakes in brainstorming. Here's a list of tips that people should try:

1) Focusing on a topic. Without a clear problem statement, you will find yourself aimlessly trying to succeed. Also problem statements focused on the customers are better than ones that focus inward on organizational goals. 2) Not critiquing or debating ideas. 3) Numbering ideas. 4) Knowing when to build on ana idea or jump to another one. 5) Using physical space to lay out ideas. 6) Warming up with an unfamiliar brainstorming group. 7) Using physical objects in the ideation process.

Looking back at my brainstorming session, I only managed to do #1 and #3. I was guilty of critiquing ideas, and all not following all the other tips Kelley laid out. In my next brainstorming session, I will hold back on debating ideas, and try to be more creative with physical space and objects.

Weishu Xu - 2/4/2013 10:48:13

According to Kelley, common mistakes in brainstorming include not doing it often enough and not organizing in a way that allows it to function as the fun but demanding activity that it is. Many times brainstorming can be improved by making sure that everyone is engaged and comfortable, that a specific question is posed so the session is focused or "sharpened," and that a clear goal is established (i.e. 100 ideas). However, this question has to be a problem and not one that already implies "an answer." Another rule would be to not criticize ideas and instead keep imagination unlimited. Helpful ways to get started could include mental exercises to get the ball rolling.

For my individual design assignment, I was able to include a sharpened problem statement that gave the interviewee an understanding of the problem at hand. I do not believe it already suggested an answer because I received a variety of different responses. However, I did not establish a clear goal for each individual to come up with ideas, and I also relied less on the individual's solutions and rather used my own interpretation of their problem and proposed method of addressing them. For the in-class group brainstorm on Monday, I will try to keep the discussion at a high energy and set a goal for myself (and possibly propose one for the group) in order to ensure it is more productive. I will also make sure to stay open-minded about all ideas and try to build off of the creativity in the room. Another point that I thought was important was that the session should not revolve around "turns" because it dampens the enthusiasm and energy of a room.

Raymond Lin - 2/4/2013 11:14:00

Kelley believes that the way people perceive brainstorming as "a checkbox [or] threshold variable" is an incorrect notion. Instead, he believes that brainstorming is an art or skill that is constantly being developed. For example, Kelley believes that brainstorming should be a regular activity, much like exercise, and that many people make the mistake of not practicing this.

I think I did well in following Kelley's rules or numbering ideas and building and jumping. For instance, I felt like a lot of my brainstorming were similar in the fact that they spawned from some original idea. However, there is a good balance between this building and jumping into new and different ideas.

However, I failed to follow many of the Rules, such as "Stretching Your Mental Muscles." I did not do any preparation prior to brainstorming, in fact I just sat down with a friend began discussing with him ideas. "Sharpening the Focus" was also another area that was difficult for me to follow because I didn't feel like I could narrow down the topics enough such that I knew clearly what I wanted my apps to be geared towards.

I would definitely want to warm up before brainstorming, also just to get a feel for my teammates. In addition, I want to make sure that we can establish a healthy environment ("Playful Rules"), so that we can all feel comfortable enough to share our ideas. Finally, I want to be able to "Sharpen Our Focus" to make sure we're all on the same page.

John Sloan - 2/4/2013 11:14:32

1) Kelley talked about six ways to kill a brainstorm and also mentioned some common mistakes in approaching brainstorming. One that stood out to me was coming into a brainstorm cold. The brain is a muscle and it works better if you warm it up first. Another common mistake talked about was making sure your focus is not too broad or too specific. It has to be broad enough not to limit the possible solutions but also specific enough that the problem is clearly defined to prevent aimlessness. A third common mistake that stuck out to me was not to right everything down. Of course sketching and blotting down ideas is extremely important, but it is easy to lose touch with your creativity if you are spending so much time writing down specifics during a brainstorm. Also being too negative is a very common mistake in brainstorming.

2) I think I followed a lot of Kelley's suggestions but there were a few things I could do better next time. What I did well was numbering my ideas in a way that kept my energy going since I knew I was shooting for at least 12 ideas. Also I didn't dwell too long on one idea so I kept the momentum going. I tried to a 'sharpened focus' by clearly establishing what problems I was trying to solve for berkeley time. Things I should have done better include warming up my brain first, because I definitely came in cold, and also utilizing a team. For this assignment I brainstormed my solutions on my own.

Brent Batas - 2/4/2013 11:40:49

(1) According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming?

According to Kelley, common mistakes in brainstorming are (1) The boss sets limiting criteria for the brainstorm: this discourages “wild” ideas that are often actually good, or at least spark other good ideas. (2) Forcing people to take turns: this discourages than letting the conversation flow naturally. (3) Bringing in only the “experts” you think are necessary: this excludes people who you might not realize it, but who have the insight that you need. (4) Brainstorming off site: it’s okay, but overdoing it can discourage brainstorming on site. (5) Being too critical of (silly) ideas: these make the brainstorming fun and lead to a lot of good ideas. (6) Writing down too much: this is not necessary, and it takes away attention from the actual brainstorming.

One other mistake Kelley discussed was not having the right level of focus: you should focus on different ways of solving a problem, rather than just limiting yourself to one particular possible solution. Another mistake is critiquing or debating ideas too quickly: this can bring down the energy level of the session, which could prematurely bring things to a halt.

(2) Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you follow? Which ones didn't you follow? What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday?

Reflecting on the brainstorm I conducted last week, I followed Kelley’s suggestion to “go for quantity,” to number my ideas, and to not rule out silly ideas. I tried to follow the “sharpen your focus” suggestion, but it was difficult for me to understand what problem I was trying to solve, since most people were content with doing nothing other than walk/sit during Berkeley time. I did sketch out some of my ideas visually, using 3x5 index cards even before prototyping my “favorite” idea.

I didn’t follow the suggestions about stretching my mental muscles, covering surfaces with paper, and taking advantages of chances to “build” and “jump.” Part of it was because I brainstormed as an individual, rather than with other people, so some of the suggestions were less relevant for me.

For the brainstorm on Monday, I would definitely do a warm up activity, especially since chances are my group will not have worked together before, and will have just met. So it would be a good way for us to get to know each other and be more comfortable sharing with each other without fear of our ideas being shot down. I would also definitely be more visual in drawing out my ideas, using the techniques we learned during last class, to communicate my ideas and make sure we’re all on the same page. Also, I think I could always be a little more “wild” with my ideas, especially after reading this article, and reading about things like Velcro diapers and a privacy curtain for embarrassing purchases.


Zach Burggraf - 2/4/2013 11:55:03

Sharpen the Focus - I did not follow this, or at least my problem statement was too vague. Essentially I treated the brainstorm as "make an app that students can use during Berkeley time."

Build and Jump - This I surely followed, as many of my ideas led to others and many of the ideas I heard from others gave me even better ideas.

The Space Remembers - My brainstorming was very linear, not spacial. My ideas were only recorded in a simple list, and if there were more of them that would have made it very difficult to keep track of.

Stretch Mental Muscles - This one I could have easily done a better job with. I came into the brainstorming cold. I should have been thinking about the problem during Berkeley time while walking to class.

Write Everything Down (bad) - I probably spent more time thinking about how to word the idea in my list than I did coming up with some ideas. It would be better to just write down the key words and come back and explain it clearly later so as to not interrupt the flow of ideas.

Silly Stuff - I think a lot of the time I quickly criticized my own ideas, shooting them down as something that wouldn't be useful or couldn't be programmed.

For the in-class brainstorming I think my key goal going into it will be to have more fun with it, then creativity will come a bit more naturally.

Ben Goldberg - 2/4/2013 11:58:38

Some common mistakes in brainstorming include having the boss speak first, writing down everything, only allowing "qualified" experts to brainstorm, and going to an off-site location to do the brainstorming.

For my brainstorming session, the only one of Kelley's rules that I followed was that I numbered my ideas. I didn't follow any of the other ones, but for the brainstorming in class today I will definitely try some of them. That would include having someone write down the ideas and having them be visible to the group. That way we can see the progress we have made and build off of those ideas. Another rule we should try is the stretching of mental muscles. The groups are going to be full of new people and we'll need a way to break the ice.

Yuliang Guan - 2/4/2013 12:05:47

I. According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming?

The boss gets to speak first When the boss talks first, then he's going to set the agenda and the boundaries. All participants will be limited. Brainstrom is not presentations for the boss. Everybody gets a turn Don't need to take turns speaking in any orderly way, or it's not a brainstormer. Experts only please Don't be a expert snob. People from different fields may have the insight you need. Do it off-site Off-site is fine, and sometimes it may give team members more creativity. No silly stuff No need to avoid silly stuff in a brainstorm. It's not bad to have fun while we solve the problems. Write down everything It's not taking notes, so just write down useful information. In addition, it's better to keep the brainstorm no longer than 60 minutes since the level of physical and mental energy required for a brainstrom is hard to sustain longer than that.

II. Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you follow? Which ones didn't you follow? What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday?

Kelley's rules and suggestions that I followed: A. . Sharpen the focus Focus on the main topic. Have a clear problem statement. Should focus on a specific customer need or service enhancement. B. Playful rules Don't start to critique or debate ideas, but to turn aside critiques without turning off the critiques completely. C. Number your ideas Number each idea that bubble up in a brainstorm to motivate participants. D.The space remembers Write the flow of ideas in a medium visible to the whole group so that all participants can see their progression and return to those that seen worthy of more attention.

Kelley's rules and suggestions that I did not followed:

A. Build and Jump A successful brainstorm should follow a series of steep power curves, in which momentum builds slowly, then intensely, then starts to plateau. B. Stretch your mental muscles So some group warm-up at the beginning of a brainstorm such as word game or content-related homework. C. Get physical Have sketching, mind mapping, diagrams, and stick figures.

What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday? From Kelley's suggestions, I have deeper understanding about what brainstorm is. For the brainstorm on Monday, I will remember these rules in mind and follow them. Besides what I have done last time, I will pay attention to the parts that I've missed last time. Do warm-up with group members at the beginning, and have sketching and diagrams.


Timothy Ko - 2/4/2013 12:06:58

Some common mistakes in brainstorming have to do with being too serious about the process. Kelley describes some of these as letting the boss speak first, which limits creativity at the start, or letting everybody at the room have a turn to talk, which turns a brainstorm into a procedural meeting. Rejecting silly ideas is another clear example of brainstorm that's too serious. While a brainstorm is a helpful and important part of the creative process, it should not be bogged down by such serious and formal rules as the ones stated above.

I followed Kelley's second rule, to have playful rules, as well as half of the fourth rule, which was to build off of other ideas. When I was brainstorming I would ask my friends to throw out any ideas that they had. Some had crazy ideas like an app for popping bubble wrap, or one that would take out the trash for you. Although they weren't as feasible as other ideas, I took them into account in case I could build off those ideas.

I ended up not building off of those specific ideas, but I did build off other ideas. An example is when someone suggested I make an app that teaches you how to speak another language. Using this, I then asked how you could effectively teach another language in ten minute spurts, and building off that, I then thought that this idea doesn't have to be restricted to learning another language, but in fact could be extended to other subjects, in the form of flashcards.

I didn't follow Kelley's rules for sharpening focus, numbering my ideas, using all the space around me, conducting a group warmup, or getting physical. Most of this was probably due to me trying to brainstorm alone for the most part. I just curled up on my couch and tried to come up with ideas, occasionally asking whoever was around to shout out random ideas. I also got pretty comfortable on the couch, which discouraged using all the space around me or using gestures to express ideas.

I would probably want to explore using as much space possible in the group brainstorm. Just thinking about that idea already feels liberating. I would also want to to some group warmups as I'm not used to brainstorming in groups (or even alone, to be honest).

Yuliang Guan - 2/4/2013 12:12:53

I. According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming?

The boss gets to speak first When the boss talks first, then he's going to set the agenda and the boundaries. All participants will be limited. Brainstrom is not presentations for the boss. Everybody gets a turn Don't need to take turns speaking in any orderly way, or it's not a brainstormer. Experts only please Don't be a expert snob. People from different fields may have the insight you need. Do it off-site Off-site is fine, and sometimes it may give team members more creativity. No silly stuff No need to avoid silly stuff in a brainstorm. It's not bad to have fun while we solve the problems. Write down everything It's not taking notes, so just write down useful information. In addition, it's better to keep the brainstorm no longer than 60 minutes since the level of physical and mental energy required for a brainstrom is hard to sustain longer than that.

II. Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you follow? Which ones didn't you follow? What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday?

Kelley's rules and suggestions that I followed: A. Sharpen the focus Focus on the main topic. Have a clear problem statement. Should focus on a specific customer need or service enhancement. B. Playful rules Don't start to critique or debate ideas, but to turn aside critiques without turning off the critiques completely. C. Number your ideas Number each idea that bubble up in a brainstorm to motivate participants. D.The space remembers Write the flow of ideas in a medium visible to the whole group so that all participants can see their progression and return to those that seen worthy of more attention.

Kelley's rules and suggestions that I did not followed:

A. Build and Jump A successful brainstorm should follow a series of steep power curves, in which momentum builds slowly, then intensely, then starts to plateau. B. Stretch your mental muscles So some group warm-up at the beginning of a brainstorm such as word game or content-related homework. C. Get physical Have sketching, mind mapping, diagrams, and stick figures.

What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday? From Kelley's suggestions, I have deeper understanding about what brainstorm is. For the brainstorm on Monday, I will remember these rules in mind and follow them. Besides what I have done last time, I will pay attention to the parts that I've missed last time. Do warm-up with group members at the beginning, and have sketching and diagrams.


Edward Shi - 2/4/2013 12:17:07

According the Kelley, many of the common mistakes in brainstorming are actually not as obvious as we think they are. The first fallacy is that many people think they brainstorm enough and brainstorming is something that is not learned or practice. Kelley insists that brainstorming once a month is not sufficient and that brainstorming needs practice. We are often confined by a strict way of thinking that stunts great brainstorming. For instance, we are often too scared to speak up infront of superiors. In brainstorming, Kelley suggests that all hierarchy should be stripped down and that not one person dictates the brainstorming. Everybody should be able to contribute to proliferate the creation of ideas. He also suggests that order is not beneficial to brainstorming. Brainstorming needs to be spontaneous as that is they way ideas pop into our minds. The questions that we raise can not be too specific but not too broad. Inordinate specificity can shut out other solutions to an idea. Too broad of a problem can lead to aimless wandering when brainstorming. He also wants everybody to check their ego as everybody is an expert in their own right and we want everybody from different field to gain perspectives that one may not have. While he does encourage numbering of ideas, he strongly discourages the taking of constant notes. If all you are doing is taking notes, you can not possibly be contributing to the brain storm. During my brainstorming, my friend and I did not follow a strict turn rule. We were both spewing out ideas. However we did feel that the problem we had was a bit general and we perhaps didn't have a specific enough target audience. I was glad that I did number my ideas as that showed what I had and how much more I should keep going. I was glad that we were also in my apartment and that their wasn't too many distractions to my brainstorming process. I would definitely work with more people on the in class group brainstorm. Furthermore, I would like to practice the plastering the whole room with paper method. Lastly I am eager to test out whether a warm up is effective or not and see if I can build and jump off my teammates!

Harry Zhu - 2/4/2013 12:23:21

According to Kelley, the common mistakes in brainstorming is thinking that the boss always gets to speak first, forcing everybody to get a turn, thinking that only the experts can contribute good ideas, doing the brainstorm out of the office, not allowing silly stuff into the brainstorm, and writing down every single detail that's mentioned.

Some of Kelley's rules I followed for my individual assignment was numbering my ideas and building off of other's ideas. Some rules I didn't follow were sharpening the focus or being visual with the brainstorm. I also didn't do any warm ups before starting the brainstorm with my friends. For the in-class group brainstorm, I plan on doing all three of those rules I did not do for the individual assignment because I would probably not be familiar with my group, and they would definitely help fuel the brainstorm.

Erika Delk - 2/4/2013 12:26:50

According to Kelley, some of the common brainstorming mistakes are being negative towards other's ideas, not encouraging "crazy" ideas, letting the boss set the tone of the discussion, not writing down ideas, and being overly formal.

During my individual design assignment I followed Kelley's rules about numbering my ideas and writing them down. I also did my best not to limit myself to "sane" or "do-able" ideas and let everything fly. However, I didn't draw any pictures of what I had in mind, I didn't brainstorm with others, and I tended to be critical of my ideas. This Monday, I will try to be less negative about potential proposals, and encourage all ideas, no matter how un-workable they may seem.

Moshe Leon - 2/4/2013 12:30:20

1.According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming? (Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment) Answer: There are a few things you should never do in brainstorming: a.Don’t have the boss speak first- it might have him set the agenda, or limits/boundaries that other employees will not dare cross. Kelley suggests sending the boss out for coffee. In my brainstorming session, I guess my wife and my friend were waiting for me to dictate the flow of affairs, since they never really brainstorm in this manner. I know I set limits and boundaries, because of lack of time, we only had an hour. I know it may have stopped them from raising some ideas which I conveyed as irrelevant. b.Everybody gets a turn- Do not speak in a circle, it is not one turn-pass on to the next person! Got an idea? Spit it out! In my brainstorming session we actually did that, and it was a lot of fun. I believe it came natural, no one really mentioned a non-circle way of discussion. c.Experts only please- It is about an insight and experience, not the level of knowledge in a particular field. If someone knows more- great! But don’t discard other’s ideas as being silly or irrelevant. While Eric and I know how things work, my wife does not realize the implementation process and difficulties that may arise from certain features. I am afraid to say that some of her ideas were let go of, because of implementation difficulties. d. Do it off site- Don’t go on an office vacation, or to a place that might distract you. Staying in the office is good, and can actually get people to be even more productive, while getting some good vibes in the office. I am afraid that we had to stay home, because of the kids. The environment was not as productive, since there were many disturbances, and the flow was often cut. e.No silly stuff- Try to have fun, otherwise, it might become a very boring session. In my brainstorming session, we had a few giggles, which livened up the event; however, we were under a time constraint. f.Write down everything- Don’t lose focus by writing everything and becoming a historian. Write important things in a manner that would not distract you, and allow you to participate in the brainstorming. In my session, I was writing the ideas, we had about 50 of them, because I wrote down even the silly ones. I was not destructed, however, and was able to participate and contribute.

2.Which ones of Kelley’s rules and suggestions did you follow? a.We did sharpen up the focus- the idea was very clear to us. It was extremely helpful, since we knew what was off topic and what not. b.We did number our ideas- and that was extremely helpful when we later on consolidated them into the best 12. c.We did build and jump- because the ideas were written well and numbered, it helped me, as the mediator, guide us back into important junctions that I kept a mental note of during the sessions. Every time we got stuck, I had us jump back to another idea we raised previously.

3.which ones didn’t you follow? a.We did not have Playful rules- since we had a time constraint. Some ideas were funny, but I kept rushing us out of them, sooner than the others wanted. b.We did not use the space remembers- since I had a piece of paper, and no white board. The things were only visible to me, and I was writing for everyone else. c.We did not stretch our mental muscles- we just couldn’t afford the time. We also never did this before, and especially not as a group, so it could have helped us. d.We did not get physical- it was all about getting more ideas and writing them down. Eric and I were the only ones with experience of the Berkeley time, and we actually had to tell my wife what it was.

4.What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday? a.I would make sure there is a facilitator- without one the group may not perform as well as we should. The facilitator should make the mental notes of important ideas to branch off of later on, and help keep the session alive and running. b.Someone needs to write down the important things, but not EVERYTHING, so he/she may still contribute to the brainstorming process. c.A mediator should make sure that no one breaks the “rules” and cuts someone off, or discards any idea. Also, the session should not turn into a boring discussion. d.No ideas are too silly, and everyone gets a chance in speaking!

We will have FUN! :)

Thomas Yun - 2/4/2013 12:36:28

Kelley mentions a lot of common mistakes in brainstorming. He starts off by mentioning that the problem is that everyone thinks they already do it. He also says that many treat brainstorming as a check box when it can actually be much more than that. At the end of the reading, he mentions the various ways to kill a brainstorm session which can also be considered common mistakes depending on the setting. To summarize, the common mistakes are, letting the boss speak first and setting a boundary, giving everybody a turn instead of just having people shoot out ideas, including people that are experts at the topic instead of someone that isn't, brainstorming offsite, no outrageous ideas which could actually end up leading to good ones, and writing down everything.

Out of all the rules and suggestions that Kelley mentions, I think I only ended up following a few of them. I suppose some may be more appropriate for a group setting though. The rules I did follow for sure were numbering my ideas, and writing down ideas as that seems to be the most basic in a successful brainstorm. I definitely didn't sharpen my focus as most of my ideas really came throughout the day. I didn't really sit down and just have a brainstorm session but I was thinking about ideas from time to time. I also definitely did not draw out all my ideas with the exception of the prototype, and the build and jump and playful rules don't really apply since I didn't have an actual brainstorm session. For the in-class group brainstorm, the things I didn't follow would probably be included this time as it is a group environment and it would be a valid brainstorm session. I would probably also draw out all my ideas because it would be easier to get ideas across through images.

Kate Gorman - 2/4/2013 12:42:25

Common Brainstorming mistakes: - everyone thinks they are already doing it. - it is not done often enough - not having a well-articulated problem at the right level of specificity - making ideas personal, instead of numbering the ideas to release ownership - everybody gets a turn mentality - write down everything-- taking notes shifts the focus away from the ideas.

For my assignment, I have a focused goal at the right level of specificity. I however brainstormed with a few people separately instead of organizing everyone to come together at once. This likely limited the idea pool. I found myself critiquing ideas by saying "there's already an app that does that" as the ideas came in. I numbered my ideas and let everything flow, and did some idea building.

In class, I will try to do more idea building and harness the energy around a certain subject properly to allow the ideas in that space to be fully fleshed out before moving on. I will do a warmup because the group will barely know each other's names and people will need to feel comfortable and relax in order to fully brainstorm properly.

Minhaj Khan - 2/4/2013 12:43:56

Some mistakes in brainstorming include setting boundaries which hamper creativity, which can be observed if the boss of a brainstorm session is too strict on the limits of the idea. Another is when a brainstorm session only includes people who are technically relevant to the project. Its important to also have people from all tiers of the business to have different perspectives on generating ideas. Another one is to hamper brainstorm creativity by not considering any crazy ideas. These ideas may be crazy at first but they have potential to generate other ideas or themselves be feasible.

When brainstorming for the assignment, one suggestion i followed is that i numbered my ideas on paper as i wrote them. one of the suggestions i didn't follow was to be more visual and draw out some of the ideas on paper to see how they would work. on monday i'de go for lots of quantity and allow for any crazy ideas to be considered.

Matthew Chang - 2/4/2013 12:47:56

Some common mistakes are attempting to place structure on the brainstorming process, such as asking people one at a time or having the boss set strict design criteria. This prevents natural exploration of ideas and can decrease the overall productivity of the brainstorming.

For the individual design assignment, I kept my ideas open and didn't discount any crazy or blatant copying of ideas from other ideas I've seen or heard. I also did some asking around with friends about what they do during Berkeley time to get a rough starting point, providing some background and a jumping platform. I made sure to write down my ideas on paper, which allowed me to build and jump, moving from different ideas and developing them.

Tips mentioned in the reading that I didn't use are numbering of ideas and taking advantage of space, which I think are both useful and something I would like to take advantage of during the in-class brainstorm today.

Anh Mai - 2/4/2013 12:53:45

According to Kelly, some common mistakes in brainstorming includes having the boss or leader speaks up first and sets a tone for the rest of the brainstorming session. Brainstormers are supposed to be "free" of constraints to some degree, and if the boss gets up and says the ideas have to be this or that - people will feel limited and out-of-the-box ideas won't be thrown into the table. If people are "forced" to speak, the session also becomes long and useless - some people might have ideas, and some might not get ideas until later in the brainstorming session - going around and giving everyone a "chance" does not help at all. And sometimes people think only experts can give insightful ideas, when realistically anyone who has even a bit of knowledge about the subject of the brainstorming session can come up with the next billion dollar ideas - so excluding "groups" of people is a recipe for failure as well. People sometimes look down on having silly ideas or "stupid" ideas - but brainstorming is supposed to be fun and lighthearted, and even the wackiest of ideas should be welcomed. And some people tend to take a lot of notes, maybe even write every thing down, and that distracts your brain and shifts your focus, making you a less productive brainstormer.

For the brainstorming that was part of my assignment, I definitely somewhat followed Kelly's suggestions of getting physical. I went out and actually interviewed people, asked them about what they did or could not do during Berkeley time. I merged that with my own experiences, and that gave me a lot of ideas of what students go through during that 10 minutes. I also numbered my ideas, which made it a lot easier to go back and visit random ones because I was also working with my roommate at the time. The biggest don't that I definitely did is similar to the "boss speaks first" fault point. I set a mental note of what was and was not acceptable at the beginning of the brainstorming session, told that to my roommate, and I think that might have set some limit to what ended up coming out of our heads afterward. For the in-class group brainstorming, I will definitely try to set-loose some limits and try to get out of the box as much as possible while still being focused to the goal.

Sangyoon Park - 2/4/2013 13:02:58

Kelley mentioned several things that could kill the principle of brainstorming; vague topics, distractions(i.e., wrong topic direction, writing down everything), criticizing, and so on. Ultimately, in any type of brainstormer, anything that could prevent generating wild ideas is one of the biggest mistakes that could happen. He believes that brainstormer's effect/outcome can be greatly increased when the right environments are provided so people can easily express their plain/wild ideas in a that situation, in order words, in a comfort zone. What I followed: Number your ideas, the space remembers, stretch your mental muscles, get physical. What I didn't follow: Sharpen the focus, playful rules, build and jump, get physical. For the in-class group brainstorm, I can try to make a short sentence for that particular brainstorm, so it could follow sharpen the focus. I would encourage more wild ideas coming out of the group, not to critique and debate. Lastly, I could try to build some kind of a track in my mind so i could use build and jump.

Derek Lau - 2/4/2013 13:05:52

According to Kelley, there are six common mistakes that occurs during brainstorming. They are: 1. the boss gets to speak first, 2. everybody gets a turn, 3. experts only please, 4. do it off-site, 5. no silly stuff, and 6. write down everything. There are a few general underlying themes that these six mistakes exemplify. One is that ideas should not be constrained to a personnel structure, which #1 and #3 exemplify. Personnel structures lead to limits on the confidence and ability of each brainstormer member to think and say exactly what they want to say. Another is that ideas should not be constrained to a temporal structure, which #2 and #6 define. Temporal structures lead to rigid and stiff thinking, shifting the mind from free-flowing and creative to scheduled and conventional thoughts, the very thing from which brainstorming is trying to break free. The last two deal with controlling the creativity of brainstormers. #4 frames creativity as something that can be achieved only in an off-campus setting, which ends up being detrimental to when the company doesn't have enough resources to spend for an off-campus trip so often. #5 directly inhibits creativity, which forces brainstomers to think inside the box and therefore doesn't allow for the creative solutions that brainstorming seeks to achieve.

During the individual brainstorm, I found myself to follow 3. number your ideas and 4. build and jump. The numbering helped because it allowed me to see how much progress I was making and feel encouraged that ideas, both good and bad, were flowing out. While I was brainstorming, I experienced the build and jump, where ideas were hard to ramp up at first so I needed to look around for inspiration. However, as ideas 3 and 4 started chugging along, 5-9 rolled out pretty quickly and I was able to build off of the momentum from each previous idea. The last three ideas were the most difficult after plateauing from the jump, because it felt like I was already dry and out of ideas. I didn't know about 1. sharpen the focus, 2. playful rules (which would probably be more helpful in a group setting), 5. the space remembers, and 6. stretch your mental muscles. I would probably want to do 5. the space remembers the most, because I feel like having a visual context and seeing ideas plastered up physically and on the walls would create a much more inviting environment and experience for brainstorming.

Shaun Benjamin - 2/4/2013 13:21:04

Some common mistakes are brainstorming with too wide or too narrow of a focus, making it difficult to find a proper solution to the problem. Another big mistake is placing constraints on the brainstorm, such as the boss laying out the rules, or making everybody speak in turn. Telling the brainstormers what they can and can't think about is counterproductive. These restrictions discourage a free flow of thoughts that makes brainstorming effective.

For my individual brainstorm, I tried to keep an open mind and allowed unconventional ideas to come out of it. I may have had too wide of a focus, and I did not "get physical"; I basically just sat at my desk and wrote out what I though. I didn't number my ideas either. For the group brainstorm, I will definitely try to be more active and run with ideas that others come up with, and make sure we have the right focus on the brainstorming topic.

Kevin Liang - 2/4/2013 13:23:50

Kelley lists these common mistakes in 6 categories. 1. Boss speaks first. 2. Everybody gets a turn. 3. Experts only please. 4. Do it offsite. 5. No silly stuff. 6. Write down everything.

Kelley observes that these practices will be "brainstorm killers". For example you should not act like a know-it-all. It is always good practice to bring in an outsider. Having everybody speak an opinion in an orderly fashion is also a waste of time says Kelley. If somebody has no comment, then he or she should not say anything otherwise it just wastes time.

During brainstorming, the rule I most followed is Build and Jump. All it took was for a friend to say a problem in bear time and out came ideas. We had a productive brainstorm which lasted about 45 minutes because of this rule. What we didn't follow was playful rules. As soon as an idea was let out, people jumped in and said why it wouldn't work. I believe it discouraged a few people from speaking up and we may have lost some good ideas as a result to that.

Sumer Joshi - 2/4/2013 13:24:47

Some common mistakes in brainstorming would be thinking of ideas that maybe silly or also putting order into the brainstorming process that inhibits people's thinking. You want the process to be as democratic as possible, but not to a point of being senseless.

For my assignment, I definitely numbered my ideas and tried to build from one idea to another. It was good practice for me because I liked focusing on these ideas and see how I could mock them up or implement them on paper. I did not follow the "playful rules" because I wanted to get good ideas, but the process is the most important, rather than the idea. For Monday, I would be more relaxed and think of brainstorming ideas before coming to class.

Tenzin Nyima - 2/4/2013 13:31:20

According to Kelley, the common mistakes in brainstorming are not contributing anything but taking notes, the boss of the group initiating the brainstorming session and thus taking control of the session, enforcing requirements such as every one has to speak and each of the participants are given a strict amount of time, bringing in so called experts instead of people who might have the insight you need, choosing venues such as ski lodge and beach, and brainstorming without a clear strategy. After reading Kelley's and analyzing the brainstorming session that I did with other two classmates last week, I think we did good except that we missed on few of the important points that Kelley mentioned. I am proud to so that our brainstorming session was of perfect length (~60 minutes) as Kelley mentioned in her writing. As Kelley pointed out, our session was not only fun but we also took it seriously. Our brainstorming session had a clear strategy, we also did not start with critiques and debates, we numbered out ideas on a white board, none of us acted as a boss and we picked a perfect place for brainstorming - one of the classrooms in the engineering library. But unfortunately, we missed on few things. We did not bring in any physical things to make our brainstorming better, we did not start with any warm-up session - we just jumped into brainstorming after a short introduction of the participants, we only had 13 ideas not 100, and also we did not have much time to keep on building on our ideas or in Kelley's words - "Build and Jump". Overall, I think we did a good job. For Monday's in-class group brainstorming, I think I will want to have some warm-up sessions before actually jumping into the brainstorming parts. I will go more wild, throwing more ideas regardless of how they may sound and definitely it is important to keep on building up on the ideas that I have come up with.


Tiffany Jianto - 2/4/2013 13:35:30

According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming?

According to Kelley, some common mistakes in brainstorming are: 1. Let the boss speak first. This limits the brainstormers. 2. Let everyone get a turn. This is democratic, painful, and useless and takes the creativity and and brainstorming out of the exercise. 3. Have experts only. This takes away from having people with different insight and opinions and is not true. 4. Have no silly stuff. In brainstorming, everything should be allowed because it contributes to the creativity. 5. Write down everything. If you are busy writing down everything, you are locked down and cannot contribute to the conversation, stifling your contributions. A few other common mistakes that Kelley doesn't explicitly state are the conceptions people have towards and about brainstorming. Instead of trying to debate or critique ideas, go for quantity and generate as many as possible, no matter how silly they may be. According to Kelley, brainstorming is overlooked by a lot of people and takes a lot of practice in order to get better.

Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you follow? Which ones didn't you follow? What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday?

For my own individual design assignment, I did not critique or debate ideas and tried to go for quantity, no matter what they were about. I numbered my ideas so I could go back and forth between them easily and see what I had. Also, I had a goal of 12, so that was a good motivation, and I went beyond that goal. I brainstormed with one other friend and we both just spoke whenever we had a good idea and talked about it for a bit and built on those ideas, which Kelley encourages. A few of Kelley's rules and suggestions did not apply, as we did not have a big group. For example, he says that 60-90 minutes is the optimum length and we did not brainstorm for that long. Also, since there were just the two of us, we did not do any warmups to prepare and we were not visual by drawing or using physical materials; we just generated ideas. We also did not articulate our specific problem first and kept it a general Berkeley time problem. I also took notes, though I didn't make them very detailed. For the in-class brainstorm on Monday, I would make sure to use a medium everyone could see and to articulate our problem first. I am used to taking notes, so I'll make sure to not do that in order to not stifle myself. We can probably also do some group warmups for Monday since I will probably be meeting, working, and brainstorming with people I have not worked with before.

22003795 - 2/4/2013 13:36:07

Common mistakes: 1. The boss gets to speak first. 2. People take turns to talk. 3. Only bring experts to brainstorm. 4. Brainstorm at a location thats not relevant to the project. (off-site) 5. No silly stuff when brainstorm 6. Write down everything. Sketch and doodle work better when brainstorm.

Reflections: What I Did follow: 1.Sharpen the focus. (Stated the problem clearly) 2.Playful rules (there was no restrictions on brainstorming when we were doing it.) 3.number our ideas.

What I Did not follow: 1.Build and jump 2.Write down the flow of ideas in a medium visible to the whole group. 3.Stretch your mental muscles 4.Get physical (while brainstorming we didn't doodle down anything)

What would I do differently for the group brainstorm: I will definitely keep track of the flow of ideas. Also try to doodle some simple prototypes while brainstorming.

Brian Wong - 2/4/2013 13:43:24

Kelley lists many common mistakes in the brainstorming. The first is not treating everyone equally (such as having the boss always go first and set the tone, mood, an agenda). A boss' restrictions can often limit the creative flow. Having a stiff structure for shouting out ideas (such as in turn) is another mistake. Kelley says to just let anyone with ideas speak. A third mistake is always aiming for a team of pure experts in certain fields. A fourth mistake is not allowing your current work environment to be a central area for idea generation (don't always go off-site). A fifth mistake is to not allow out of the box ideas, for even if highly unfeasible, they allow people to branch off into different ways of thinking. And the last mistake mentioned is writing everything down.

I think I didn't follow many of Kelley's suggestions for brainstorming. I did number my ideas and let myself write down ones that were quite infeasible, but what I did not do was write things down physically (I only wrote ideas down electronically), and I did not lay things out spatially either. I also only sketched out diagrams for final idea I selected instead of trying to sketch out a few other ideas and really get a visual feel for what different apps could look like. In the in-class group brainstorm I am definitely going to write things down on post-its and create very visual graphs and "jumping-off-points" to help facilitate both idea generation and memorization of past ideas.

Alysha Jivani - 2/4/2013 13:51:30

(1) According to Kelley, a lot of people think that they know how to brainstorm and they don’t consider it a skill that you need to develop/practice. He mentions that one big obstacle for brainstorming is negativity, like shooting down ideas too early or not praising good ideas; he also mentions that it’s very important to have a comfortable environment so that people are more willing and able to come up with crazy ideas and share them. He lists the following as the “six ways to kill a brainstormer”: the boss gets to speak first, everybody gets a turn, experts only please, do it off-site, no silly stuff, and write down everything. In my opinion, these issues all kind of get at the same point – in a brainstorm, it’s really important to not get caught in convention and to remember that everyone has something to contribute to the conversation.

(2) I think I did a little bit of the “build and jump” rule and I numbered my ideas (but in retrospect – not as we were actually coming up with the ideas). However, I don’t think my brainstorm for the individual design assignment was extensive or energetic enough. I need to work on “playful rules”, “the space remembers”, and “stretch your mental muscles”.

I think I’m more of a visual learner and I like writing and drawing physical connections on paper, so I really think “the space remembers” rule would be one of the most important/most effective for me. Also, I really like puzzles and games, and they help me feel more alert and ready to think, so the “stretch your mental muscles” rule would be very helpful for me, too. I plan on trying to implement both of these, as well as “get physical” and going for quantity, during the in-class brainstorm on Monday.


Nadine Salter - 2/4/2013 14:06:22

Kelley lists six major mistakes in brainstorming, most of which are primarily applicable to the business environment:

  • let someone in a position of power take charge of the group
  • mechanise the process, imposing undue order — e.g., giving each person a turn to speak
  • emphasising involvement of experts in relevant fields, limiting possible insights
  • associating "creativity" with "ski resort" or "off-site special event", rather than having creativity be a continuous aspect of one's place of work
  • censoring brainstorms
  • focusing on taking notes rather than creating new ideas

I didn't craft a "well-honed statement of the problem" beyond "give students with senioritis something to do during Berkeley time" — though the general consensus of seniors I polled was that Berkeley time was already being spent in transit to class in a habitual process that didn't have any clear problems, so something like the "let bikers drink coffee without burning themselves" statement was less immediately obvious. I also didn't make as much use of primary visual techniques (mind-mapping, diagrams) as I could have.

Many of Kelley's suggestions apply specifically to group brainstorms and didn't make an appearance in my individual assignment — they are directly relevant to Monday's in-class group brainstorm.

Eric Leung - 2/4/2013 14:06:37

Common mistakes in brainstorming include:

- Having a brainstorming topic that is too narrow or too broad - Interrupting a brainstorming session to shoot down ideas - Facilitator too busy taking notes to facilitate and lead discussion

Some of the brainstorming suggestions I followed were:

- Go for quantity over quality first; just find ways to use those 10 minutes of time more effectively - Numbered our ideas, made it easy to refer back to an idea - Go to some more outrageous ideas such as a nap timer/alarm

Some that I did not follow:

- Sharpening the focus; did not really focus on whether this should be an app for students, GSIs, professors, etc. - Only verbally communicated ideas which were typed out on a phone rather than on a large whiteboard/wall - No facilitator or manager to keep us on a good track

For the in-class brainstorming, a rotating facilitator might be useful since we'll have a bigger group. Since for the individual design assignment, I only brainstormed with one other person, it didn't make too much sense to facilitate. Also, ideas should be sprawled out everywhere on Monday, rather than on a tiny little screen.

Brett Johnson - 2/4/2013 14:07:04

Kelley lists six different common mistakes with brainstorming. He says that letting the boss speak first, forcing everyone to have a turn, and only allowing experts at the brainstorm will surely kill the effort. In addition, off-site brainstorms don't promote creativity in the workplace, and not allowing people to have wild, silly ideas also can kill creativity. Lastly, Kelley says that writing down a complete transcript of the brainstorm is counterproductive, as people should be listening to each other and contributing their ideas as well.

I think I did a good job of sharpening the focus. By narrowing down the problem to "How can people efficiently and easily calculate a tip," some of my design decisions were made easier (like making custom keyboard to get rid of +/-/* symbols that no one would need or want to see when calculating a tip).

Next time, when sketching out ideas trying to get a large quantity, I would definitely try to number all ideas and spread them out more. Another of the rules that I did not really follow was getting physical. I think that next time I prototype an app, or really anything for that matter, I need to act out how I would actually use it in its intended context. While I had others act out how they would use it, I think I forgot that it would also be valuable if I tried the app it its intended context myself.

For the in-class group brainstorm, I am going to make sure that we keep the brainstorm playful and no one has their ideas shot down. It might also be a good idea to play a warm-up game to get to know each other. I also will try to make sure we are numbering our ideas and acting out how the app will be used, two of the main things that I personally did not explore enough for the individual exercise.

Juntao Mao - 2/4/2013 14:08:06

According to Kelley, what are common mistakes in brainstorming? Kelley mentions 6 mistakes that often kills brainstorming: 1. The boss speaks first and set up limitation and inhibits wild ideas. 2. Requires everybody to speak, and in order. Brainstorming should be putting out ideas when one comes up, not when it’s your turn. 3. Only experts are allowed to voice their opinions. 4. Brainstorm only off-site. Brainstorming should be done anywhere, and often. 5. No silly stuff. Kelley says that it is very important for briainstormers to voice their silly ideas because it reminds the team that it’s a fun and it sparks creativity. 6. Write everything down. Brainstorming is about voicing ideas, and building on top of other ideas, if a person is focused on taking notes, he/she gives up the chance to listen and think about others’ ideas. Also, according to Kelley, some other issues are : not brainstorming often enough, not having well-articulated problem with the right level of specificity, critiquing, not being physical (sketching, making crude models, acting...)


Reflect on the brainstorm you conducted for your individual design assignment. Which ones of Kelley's rules and suggestions did you follow? Which ones didn't you follow? What would you do differently for the in-class group brainstorm on Monday? We did not speak in turn or have a person in charge set constraining limitations. Everybody was welcomed to speak their idea, practical or silly. It was fun to do, and not very long. Some rules we didn’t quite follow is that sometimes we would debate or critique about the practiality of things while brainstorming, and that we did not set out a lot of writing space before hand. Also, even though it was the first time we’ve ever met, we didn’t have a chance to play some warm up games, so the initial efficiency was somewhat low. For Monday’s discussion, we should definitely start out with some warm-up games to get everyone ready and less timid to put out ideas, not critiquing silly and unpractical ideas, and be active in sketching and acting out our ideas.

Eric Wishart - 2/4/2013 14:20:28

Common mistakes in brainstorming include defining the problem too narrowly, not encouraging all ideas, even the wild ones, and not getting enough ideas. Another common mistake would be not delegating someone to facilitate the conversation so that they can help steer the ideas in a certain direction.

For my own brainstorm I made the mistake of not defining my problem well enough. This lead to some delay in coming up with ideas. I was also doing it by myself so I didn't have anyone to help nurture ideas or to help guide my brainstorming session. I definitely did try to encourage my wild ideas, which made me not feel self conscious because I knew that they would not be mocked. For the in-class group brainstorm on Monday I am going to make sure our group defines the problem well and has someone take the role of guiding our conversations.

Mia Kissick - 2/4/2013 14:21:55

Common mistakes in brainstorming includes letting the boss start the session, everyone gets a turn, only include experts, always do it off-site, do not allow silly things, and write everything done.

Reflect on the brainstorm I conducted for my design assignment, I did and my ideas and build and jump on ideas. However, I did not really employ spatial memory or get physical. I would be able to have a more clear focus and use spatial memory technique for the in-class group brainstrom on Monday.

Samir Makhani - 2/4/2013 14:24:13

Some common mistakes in brainstorming are not having a defined problem towards the beginning of the brainstorm. I really like how Kelly 's company direction metaphor: "A brainstormer without a clear problem statement is like a company without a clear strategy..." Another common mistake is to critique or debate ideas, this could lead to the brainstorm losing its drive very quickly, or get stuck on a topic for too long if there is a heated debate on it. The "Six Ways to Kill a Brainstormer" also brings forth some common mistakes in brainstorming, such as limiting the amount of time a brainstormer can speak, giving someone(like a boss) ultimate authority to speak, and and writing down every detail to the extent where you're not really being creative anymore.

I followed the "Sharpen the focus," "Number your ideas" and "Build and Jump" quite well. Before I started brainstorming on a google doc, I clearly defined the problem in the right level of specificity. As I brainstormed, a numbered each idea, which gave me a good indication of the direction and history of my ideas, and also motivated me to keep going. After thinking about an idea for 3-5 minutes, it plateau'd and I moved on to the next one.

I didn't follow the other four that well. Instead of aiming for quantity, I only aimed for the 12 that prof. Hartman requested. I feel that if I spent an hour of time brainstorming, I could've easily had more, and probably better ideas. I'm sure the first 12 were probably just "Warm-up" ideas, and if I didn't worry about the limit, I probably would've focused more on quality than the quantity. I didn't do anything visual, just plain text on a Google document. Also, I should've considered other competing products for Berkeley time, as in, considered what other social platforms students use during their 10 minutes, as well as "elegant solutions from other fields."

For the in-class group brainstorm on Monday, I would definitely adhere to the "The Space Remembers" brainstorm skill, and make sure there are multiple sharpies and room for everyone to visually depict ideas, and contribute in a manner where we can keep track of our brainstorms both visually and conceptually. I also think it would be a good idea to do a quick brainstorming activity to get the juices flowing, since this is the first time I will be interacting with the group, and chances are, I will not know every member on the team. These are a couple of things I would do differently, mainly because this is a group brainstorming, not an individual brainstorm.

Alexander Javad - 2/4/2013 14:30:43

Reflecting on the brainstorm I conducted for my individual design assignment, I see things I did well and things I could improve on. For one, I thought of many ideas and numbered each one of them. I added to each idea as well then jumped to a different idea. For the in-class brainstorm... I plan on tossing out as many ideas as I can and encouraging others to do the same. I didn't brainstorm with others... and that'd probably help get more unique ideas on paper. I think getting physical is something I could improve on as well... by just writing and drawing things out it helps spur more ideas.

Dennis Li - 2/4/2013 14:38:23

"People think they already do it." They are not thinking outside of the box redefining the question.

I tried to think outside the box and redefine the problem in an innovated way. On Monday, I'll do my best to do the same!