Tools for the Mind

Last month Katelyn described the flood of opportunities that encompass the Regional Coordinator position. In her message she described a periodic project each support team member partakes in: the facilitation of our weekly staff meeting, which includes a short training on a pertinent topic. This past Monday was my turn and I decided to conduct a mini training on new ways to approach brainstorming. No matter if you are developing a volunteer recruitment strategy or designing a big event, utilizing different ways of thinking really helps in producing fresh ideas. 

The funny thing about researching this information was that I had to brainstorm tips on brainstorming. 😛 Quite the situation, huh? Luckily my trusty resource Google was on my side and through various searches I stumbled upon some interesting information. One great tool I found was MindMeister. If you are a visual thinker/learner, this might be valuable for you. This is a web-based tool that you can use to create maps for project ideas, to-do lists, explorations on ideas, and more. From my own experience, I found it to be very user-friendly; with just a click or two you can add words/lists that connect within a web, as well as add small graphics. I also like how its versatility allows it to be used for both personal and professional purposes.
 
My Google search also led me to a great blog entry entitled “Brainstorming In 15 Minute Chunks.”  The author provides readers with an excellent SlideShare presentation on brainstorming techniques that have been helpful for the author. The suggestions are particularly useful in a group setting where effective communication is key to gathering ideas from multiple people. One of my favorite techniques was reversal. This perspective challenges you to look at a situation from the total opposite direction and accordingly apply the results. The author provides the example of asking “What’s the hardest way to build this site?”  I’m assuming that most people do not initially ask that kind of question when they’re trying to move on the next step; however, I think looking at a project from such a skewed angle may be helpful in finding new ways that aren’t apparent at first.
 
Consider re-evaluating your personal style of brainstorming. Hey, it might make that massive project you have seem less daunting. Do you have a personal way of crafting new thoughts and ideas?
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