ICE index for BrainstormingEstimated Reading Time: just 2 min

Brainstorming is a group creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members.

In other words, brainstorming is a situation where a group of people meets to generate new ideas and solutions around a specific domain of interest by removing inhibitions. People are able to think more freely and they suggest many spontaneous new ideas as possible. All the ideas are noted down and are not criticized and after brainstorming session the ideas are evaluated (source Wikipedia)

Brainstorming is powerful because it allows people with very different mindsets to sit down around the same table and “fertilize” each other with new ideas.

During these sessions, it is typical to build on someone else’s ideas in order to get to a more comprehensive solution.

At the same time, Brainstorming could also be very dangerous because it needs a team that gets along well or a moderator in order not to result in a non-productive waste of time.

Therefore, it is better to follow some ground rules in order to have effective brainstorming sessions:

1) Don’t judge: ideas must flow and no one should be allowed to offer any judgment

The idea-generation phase is getting the most number of option that will be ranked in a second stage

2) Don’t comment: the objective is to bring ideas to the surface, not to discuss them.

Any comment may change the mood in the room so it is better not to comment or to say nothing more than a very short wow/cool

3) Don’t edit: editing is a left-brain activity that is separate from idea generation.

Therefore, adding commas or formats will only put the focus on something other than brainstorming and at the end of the day it will only slow down the session

4) Don’t execute. Don’t get distracted by thinking about execution

Thinking about what’s next is a left-brain activity that will only put the focus on something other than brainstorming and at the end of the day it will only slow down the session

5) Don’t worry: since fear blocks creativity

6) Don’t look backwards: the past can limit the ability to invent the future

7) Don’t lose focus: a right-brain creative state can cause a team to stray, just be aware of it and don’t let it happen

8) Don’t sap energy: do everything you can to keep the energy up to build a positive environment

9) Don’t compare: it is an insidious form of criticism that could prevent ideas to flow

10) Don’t make fun at others’ expense: also this is an insidious form of criticism that could prevent ideas to flow

Brainstorming is very powerful when used inside a 4 step process

  1. Ideas generation: it is where the Brainstorming takes place
  2. Prioritization: there is a methodology called ICE (Impact-Confidence-Ease) that helps ranking ideas using 3 dimensions
    • Impact: how much the positive impact will be if the idea works?
    • Confidence: how much is the team confident in the idea to work?
    • Ease: how complex is the idea?

Each dimension is ranked from 1 to 10 and the sum of the marks gives an ICE index per each idea.

The ICE index is then used for ranking ideas

  1. Test: after ranking the ideas it is now possible to test the top ones, the amount of the trials that could be run is defined by the available budget
  2. Analysis: after running the test phase, the team re-groups again in order to evaluate the outcome and either brainstorm again for next steps or scaling the ideas that work
Nicola Zaffonato Administrator

Business Strategy | Product Marketing | Executive Master eCommerce Management | Business Innovation Master | MSc

I am driven by my personal growth and of people/contexts that surround me.

I followed a professional path in Valentino Fashion Group and Luxottica during which, thanks to the ability to understand different businesses and interests, I was able to succeed in Operations, Merchandising and Retail.

These organizations have exploited my ability to mediate and translate needs/constraints into practice, assigning me to Project Management roles.

Luxottica relied on my ability to analyze, to anticipate things and to imagine/implement solutions by appointing me in Supply Chain Management department and assigning me to the Product Management of IoT solutions for Anti-counterfeiting and Retail digitalization.

During this professional path, I also developed my leadership by managing teams to build Processes, Organizations, Systems and Governance Tools.

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