Quality Tool – Brainstorming


Based on Quality Capsule 10, we are probably now adept at Analysing a Flow Diagram.

In this Quality Capsule, I wish to share some interesting techniques for Brainstorming.

Let us start with, why should we use brainstorming? My answer: To get team members to pool their knowledge and creativity, in generating “waves” of ideas, while diagnosing a chronic problem, as well as designing a remedial solution.

Please reread the sentence and revisit Quality Capsule 5 on Structured Quality Improvement.

Next, what does brainstorming do? My answers:

  • Discourage “same old way” of thinking, by creating more and more ideas that team members can build upon
  • Allow each person to be creative while focusing on a team’s common objective.

Finally, what does it mean to be creative? My answers:

  • To consistently produce a volume of ideas
  • To put existing or new ideas together in multiple combinations
  • To make connections between the chronic problem and seemingly unrelated facts or observations.

Four Phases of Brainstorming

Potential Misapplications and Pitfalls

Brainstorming is not a substitute for data. This is the most serious misapplication.

While brainstorming is a very useful tool for Structured Quality Improvement, it cannot be used to:

  • Prioritize projects
  • Analyze the symptoms
  • Test hypotheses
  • Identify the root cause
  • Verify the effectiveness of a solution.


In order to stimulate right-brain creative thinking, I recommend that team members be trained on:

  • Classic Brainstorming
  • Imaginary Brainstorming
  • Brainwriting 6-3-5


For a brainstorming session, a related flow diagram can facilitate a flood of ideas.

An effective surgeon works with multi-tools. An effective qualitist also works with multi-tools. Do you agree?


In my next edu-blog, on Wednesday 23 September, I will introduce Cause-Effect Diagrams.

  • Author :

    Suresh Lulla

  • Resource Link :


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