Without judgment or the evaluation of an idea, the final step in the brainstorming process is for the group to clarify the written verbiage and if appropriate, combine similar items. At this time, the ideas are still not yet assessed for value or significance
The following are two are slightly different variations of the above brainstorming process, and may be better suited to certain situations, the type of questions being asked or the diversity of the participants:
- Anonymous brainstorming – participants write their ideas on a sheet of paper, passing them around to other group members who build on the ideas. This technique is helpful when people are reluctant to speak in front of a group, the topic is sensitive or an outspoken person tends to dominate verbal brainstorming.
- Sticky note brainstorming – participants write one idea per sticky note and place them on a wall for everyone to see. Ideas are then grouped by topics or themes.
Brainstorming is an excellent divergent or idea-generating tool that can create possibilities and help a group move beyond individual perspectives to solve problems. It can also help to establish buy-in of the final plan or outcome, as participants had the opportunity to contribute. If the planning process continues, convergent or narrowing tools may be used to prioritize and create action plans based on the diverse perspectives generated in the earlier brainstorming sessions.