The list on the right is a set of key words used by this web site and
other people in the field of brainstorming and creativity. Click through
the words in the list to be given a definition and description for each.
The definitions are in sequential order, so by clicking the list top-down
you will better understand the latter entries.
You will note that many words have more than one definition. This is
intentional because words are used in different ways by different people
and a single definition is often neither helpful nor sufficient. Only
by reading all the definitions will you truly understand the complexities
of the words and what they represent.
Wallace Stevens wrote a poem called "Thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird"
in which he wrote thirteen verses, all describing a blackbird from different
angles. There is no single definition which fits exactly. Likewise, we
have described the key words from different angles to give you a better
indication of what they really mean.
Brainstorming is "a conference technique by which a group attempts
to find a solution for a specific problem by amassing all the ideas spontaneously
by its members" (Alex Osborn)
Brainstorming is a process designed to obtain the maximum number of ideas
relating to a specific area of interest.
Brainstorming is a technique that maximizes the ability to generate new
Brainstorming is where a group of people put social inhibitions and rules
aside with the aim of generating new ideas and solutions.
Brainstorming is a time dedicated to generating a large number of ideas
regardless of their initial worth.
Brainstorming is a part of problem solving which involves the
creation of new ideas by suspending judgment.
Brainstorming is the creation of an optimal state of mind for generating
Brainstorming is the free association of different ideas to form new
ideas and concepts.
Dictionary definitions of 'Brainstorm'
A sudden inspiration
A bright idea
A severe outburst of excitement, often as a result of a transitory disturbance
of cerebral activity
A sudden mental aberration
Mass of nerve tissue in the head. The part inside the top of the head that controls
the body and makes people able to think. The soft convoluted mass of nervous
tissue within the skull that controls and coordinates the nervous system and
is the centre of thought, memory and emotions.
Violent weather consisting of the many elements of rain, wind, snow, sand, etc.
Specific thought processes which improve the ability to be creative. Being in
an optimal state of mind for generating new ideas. To think deliberately in
ways that improve the likelihood of new thoughts occurring. To maximize the
ability of the brain to think of newideas. The ability to think of original,
diverse and elaborate ideas. A series of mental actions which produce changes
and developments of thought. The process of exploring multiple avenues of actions
(Sometimes called divergent thinking because thought patterns and areas
of belief are expanded.)
Similar to Creative Thinking. Also: Seeking to solve problems by unorthodox
or apparently illogical methods. "A set of systematic techniques used for
changing concepts and perceptions and generating new ones", "Exploring
multiple possibilities and approaches instead of pursuing a single approach."
(Edward de Bono, originator of the phrase)
A matter difficult to arrange or in which it is difficult to decide the best
course of action.
There are many different definitions or alternative words for the word "problem".
For our purposes, a problem is defined as a situation where a change
must be made to the current process to bring it back to an acceptable
level. A problem occurs when the standard has gone down compared to a previous
high point or previously agreed standard. Problems are found where developments
are needed within the existing situation in order to return to the original
If you are trying to raise the standard above an existing or agreed level,
then it is considered to be an opportunity...
An occasion offering a possibility or chance. A combination of favourable circumstances.
An opportunity occurs when you would like to improve the existing situation
beyond that which currently exists or has existed before. If you are trying
to raise the standard above an existing or known level, then it is considered
to be an opportunity.
Because of the difficulty in determining the difference between a problem and
an opportunity and because there are many negative implications in using the
word "problem", the word probortunity has been created. Probortunity
is the merging of the word "problem" and "opportunity".
A probortunity can take any form: challenge, question, mystery, concern, problem,
puzzle, difficulty or opportunity.
Probortunity is an all-inclusive word to describe something you want to improve
or change for the better.
Problem solving is the process by which a situation is analyzed and solutions
are formed to solve a probortunity (problem/opportunity - see above)
and when steps are taken to remove or reduce the problem. The current problem
and situation are analyzed, potential solutions are generated and a workable
solution is determined and put into place. Problem solving is the process
of analyzing situations of uncertainty to produce actual improvements or changes
in the situation.
The problem-solving process comprises many different elements that can be
used in varying degrees depending on the probortunity to be solved. Typical
Problem definition (part of understanding the problem)
Situation analysis (part of understanding the problem)
Analysis of ideas
Determining the next steps to be taken to introduce the solution into
Different problems need different uses of these elements and often in different
orders and quantities. The structure of the problem-solving process can be very
different for different probortunities. For example, you may need to have many
tries at the problem definition element to help establish the real challenge
if the opportunity is initially vague.
(Note that problem solving is not the same as decision making.
Decision making is one process of problem solving and is only concerned in deciding
between different existing ideas. Problem solving includes the actual formation
of those ideas. Problem solving can involve varying degrees of the problem analysis
and solution generation elements compared to the decision-making part.)
A method of visually representing ideas and of aiding the brainstorming "free
association" process. A visual method of mapping information to stimulate
the generation and analysis of it. "A method of accessing intelligence,
allowing rapid expansion and exploration of an idea in note form." (Tony
Where a group of people gather to discuss what went wrong and who is to blame
for a project's failure. Similar to the brainstorming rules, blamestorming
requires vast flows of wild and exaggerated ideas with an initial emphasis
on quantity rather than quality. It's also legitimate that blame given by
one participant can be built on by others. However, unlike brainstorming,
blamestorming requires total criticism and judgment of ideas, and an idea's
worth is dependent on the management level of the person giving it.