A problem has been identified, someone stands up in front of a flipchart or whiteboard and the rest of us throw out as many ideas as possible. In theory, the ideas generated represent an exhaustive list of creative and innovative solutions. This is the essence of “brainstorming”. And while brainstorming can be an effective technique for generating solutions, there are a few common issues that can surface, such as the subtle danger of groupthink or the power of the initial suggestion guiding or influencing all subsequent ideas. When brainstorming, or trying to solve a problem in general, if you want to help avoid some of the more common traps, consider adding a little structure to the discussion by asking the following questions:
How humans actually make decisions in complex, real-world settings is the study of naturalistic decision-making (NDM). Over the last several decades, NDM research has focused on answering questions regarding how we develop expertise and how we apply that expertise in order to make successful decisions in the real world. Application of NDM findings has met with positive results in a variety of fields including, but not limited to, fireground command, battle planning, critical-care nursing and event management.
Richard Feenstra is an educational psychologist, with a focus on judgment and decision making.
Bobby Hoffman is the author of "Hack Your Motivation" and a professor of educational psychology at the University of Central Florida.