The 7 Steps to Effective Brainstorming


Everyone always has problems concerning of brainstorming – it’s time consuming and it’s exhausting. Why would you even want to do it? When a good idea comes, it’ll hit you, and you won’t need to think about it, right?

Well, actually, brainstorming can actually be a highly effective tool to your productivity, focus, and basically, getting the job well when done right. They key words here are obviously when done right, though. Just any sort of brainstorming isn’t going to help you if you aren’t good at it.

However, the MIT Sloan Management Review has put together a 7 step plan that you should do whenever you’re going to have a brain storming session – it’ll not only make it more effective, but also more efficient. Here they are:

  1. Define the confines of your problem and solution. Simple. Create the boundaries and rules – the maxes and the mins – for your problem and your possible solutions. This way, you won’t be wasting too much time trying to fruitlessly innovate to the point that you’re getting out of topic.
  2. Simplify your problem.  It’ll be so much easier to create solutions for a problem if you’ve simplified it already. Break it down into its main core and what you are trying to achieve. Then, if it’s still too big, break it down to even smaller parts which you can tackle incrementally. This’ll keep motivation high, and allow you energy to blast through it.
  3. Make it personal. Think about the problem as if it was your own. The more you imagine it as being your own, the more desperate you might get at finding the solution that it might just open up a whole new perspective that you’ve never thought about before.
  4. Seek 2nd opinions. If you’re really having that hard of a time, try and find as many people to consult – friends, family, acquaintances. It doesn’t really matter. See what they have to say, and what’s most vital is the fact that you get to bounce your ideas off of them. This is essential in any creative process.
  5. Take your time; have a reconvene. If you aren’t able to come up with solutions right away, don’t fret. Go home, take a breather, and think about it again after a night’s rest. Don’t pressure yourself to come up with the answer in a 1-hour brainstorming session. Let it incubate in your mind for a while. Eureka moments usually happen when you’ve been subconsciously thinking about it long enough for connections to be made.
  6. Simplify your solutions. At times, solutions might get too complicated. Simplify them down to the bare bones similar to how you did with your problem. For comparison sake, word it like a resume. Fit it in a one-page document.
  7. Test your ideas. When all has come together, before you start acting on it, perform a small-scale test first and see what the effects or repercussions are. Write those down, and keep designing tests to until you’re 110% sure your idea will work, and try it in different variations as well. Don’t forget to factor in the variables and room for deviation.

Creative People Are Liars


It seems as if there’s new research that suggests that dishonesty and creativity are one of the same kind. So, if you’re an extremely creative person, you might also be a chronic liar.

The new findings from Harvard Business School was published in Psychological Science. Apparently, the study suggests that there is a very small line between the two, detailed in a series of experiments. Along with some colleagues from the Marshall School of Business and the University of South Carolina, the researchers laid out a series of tests that made it easy for people to cheat. As a matter of fact, some people were even encouraged to do so.

In the first experiment conducted, the participants were tested with a set of number matrices. In these, they were instructed to find pairs of numbers that added up to 10. They were also told that they would be compensated directly proportionally to the amount that they were able to answer correctly. However, the catch was that they had to self-report, and had the ability to inflate the number that they actually got correctly. Little did they know, the researchers also monitored their actual scores for comparisons.

In another test, they the participants were given 3 words, in which they would have to come up with a fourth word that would be related to the set that was given to them. Simple as it might seem, the 3 words were not directly related to each other, or at least not obviously so. This prompted the participants to tap into their creative juices to create connections, and then come up with an answer.

The results weighed in after the experiments, and it showed that 59% of the participants had lied and inflated their scores to what it actually was. Following that, it was found that the cheaters were able to answer better and demonstrated higher creative thinking levels on the second test. The more someone inflated their score, the better they were able to do.

The study suggests that cheating might have a connection and play a hand with creative thinking and behavior. In another study, it was also found that encouraging out-of-the-box thinking also resulted in higher rates of lying. Therefore, they conclude that this is not only a one-way, but rather a two-way relationship. On top of that, they were directly related as well.

“The common saying that ‘rules are made to be broken’ is at the root of both creative
performance and dishonest behavior.”
Francesca Gina, Lead Researcher
Harvard Business School

Yearly Dental X-rays Cause Increased Likelihood of Tumors


How often do you go to your local dentist for your teeth cleaning? Once a year? Twice a year? Three – four times a year? Well, there’s a new study that’s come to light that might just make you think twice about your next visit.

Published in the journal Cancer – interesting already, huh – an interesting study conducted by researchers from Yale School of Medicine suggest that the X-rays on the dentist’s chair might just cause an increased likelihood for the development of tumors. Although the researchers aren’t going so far to propose that you should stop getting X-rayed altogether, they are saying that you should get them less often.

The study they conducted involved 1,433 people diagnosed with the most common form of brain tumor, intracranial meningioma. These people were also compared to a control group of 1,350 people who did not have tumors. As part of the study, the people also had to show their complete dental X-ray records to the researchers.

After thorough analysis, the researchers concluded that the majority of the patients with tumors were twice as likely to have developed those tumors as the result of an annual or biannual X-ray procedure called bitewig. In this procedure, the patient bites down on X-ray film, and a photo is taken of their upper and lower back teeth.

As well as bitewig, another procedure called panorex also apparently increased the likelihood for developing brain tumors. Similar to bitewig, panorex involved X-ray film, but this time took a panoramic shot of the teeth and everything around it.

Aside from the two above, it seems that the more often you’ve been taking these types of procedures, the higher the likelihood you have of developing a brain tumor. In addition, a long history of dental X-rays also contribute to this.

X-rays aren’t the safest procedures in the world – why do you think pregnant women aren’t allowed to have X-rays? However, X-rays aren’t all that bad. When some other options aren’t available, they’re quite necessary. Keep in mind the results of the research when you go to your next dental appointment, and remember with X-rays, it might just be “less is more.”