When I was first exposed to this method, I was somewhat
skeptical. The occasion was a brainstorming evening to
generate new ideas for my book's title. As our group gathered, a hypnotherapist
colleague of mine, suggested this innovative brainstorming approach.
With the topic identified beforehand,
the process began with a member of the group being asked to open a dictionary to
any page. He then randomly selected a common noun, which was written on a flip
chart. Each person was asked for a single word that he or she associated with
that noun. The group was then asked to suggest associations between each of
these words and the topic, accelerated learning. The words flowed in amazing
quantity. After repeating this process a few times, the result was a multitude
of words with which we could now work. Most would not have surfaced with
conventional brainstorming methods.
Why did this technique work so well?
It's really quite simple. In a typical brainstorming session, when members of a
group are asked to come up with ideas or solutions to a problem, their minds
access their memory banks and download what is already known about the issue.
Introducing the random word method forces the mind to find a link between
dissimilar things. Because of the gap between the random word and the topic,
ideas may be quite unusual, or even off-the-wall. As the group members build on
each other's ideas, they generate more creative solutions.
This method is fast and simple,
and usually leads to ideas that are more creative than those generated from the
classic brainstorming format.