Magazine article Security Management

No More Bright Ideas?

Magazine article Security Management

No More Bright Ideas?

Article excerpt

I WAS STUMPED. I KNEW I HAD TO GET the report out soon, but I had no idea how to start. I knew the information, but my problem was how to put it in a report.

No The budget was due soon. I knew what I wanted to implement, but I didn't think I'd get it approved. I was going to have to come up with good reasons to convince the executive board why these projects were needed. What was the right approach? I'd thought of several ways, but they all seemed hokey. Why couldn't we just go back to the good old days when my boss simply listened and approved whatever I wanted?

The event was approaching quickly. Lots of people offered to help, but when it came time to do it they all disappeared. Why didn't they understand what needed to be done and just do it?

If any of the above scenarios sound familiar, you could use brainstorming to help.

What is brainstorming? Basically, it is a technique used to collect a group of potential solutions to a problem and then consolidate them into the best approach. Whenever you get a great idea, you are most likely seeing the results of a subconscious brainstorming session. On the subconscious level, it happens over a longer period of time, sometimes even years. When you say, "Let me think about it, and I'll get back to you," you are beginning a subconscious brainstorming session.

Why does someone use brainstorming-consciously or subconsciously? Because it helps focus on the cost-benefit relationships relative to actions. I don't mean the cost-benefit in monetary terms but in personal penalties and rewards.

The main thrust of this article is to describe the brainstorming process, so that if someone is using this technique in only the subconscious mode, he or she can now start to use it in the conscious mode, too. To start, here are three new terms-divergent thinking, convergent thinking, and recursive thinking.

In the context of this article, divergent means unassociated, which implies that the solutions presented do not have to be reasonable, rational, or serious, just applicable toward achieving the end result. The rules for divergent thinking are as follows:

* There are no dumb ideas.

* No filtering should be done at this stage.

* No evaluation should be done at this stage.

* Crazy ideas are okay; they may turn into something not so crazy.

Convergent means coming together. By looking at the solutions versus the objectives, convergent thinking weeds out unreasonable solutions. Listing the reward or penalty of implementing the solution leaves a set of solutions that could actually be implemented. The rules for convergent thinking are as follows:

* Identify which objectives are at least partially satisfied by achieving the solution.

* Document the rewards and penalties that will be felt if the solution is implemented.

* List rewards and penalties by priority.

* Eliminate the solutions with a high penalty.

Recursive means occurring again. As you look into an issue, new twists arise. Sometimes one solution doesn't work, but a twist of it will. New objectives may need to be generated based on the penalties or rewards identified during the convergent thinking process. Maybe something triggers one of the participants to suggest a revolutionary approach to the problem. The rules for recursive thinking are as follows:

* Look at the penalties and rewards and try to identify new objectives that must be met.

* Look at the eliminated solutions to see if an approach was missed.

* Look at the end result and see if other solutions or objectives have been missed.

THE FIRST STEP IN THE ACTUAL BRAINstorming process is to identify the end result. For instance, in the first scenario, the end result would be a completed report, in the second a budget package, and in the third a coordinated approach by all the committee members preparing for the event. …

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