Brainstorming is an individual method to generate ideas, to increase creative effectiveness or to find solutions. (Wilson13) The researcher defines a topic or question for a group of experts. The participants develop solutions or ideas with no criticism. The next step is for the group to discuss and possibly prioritize the results to find solutions. The aim of brainstorming is quantity; it is the pure number of ideas that are generated. There are different characteristics or methods of brainstorming. For example, the participants have to think about the topic by themselves and write their ideas on Post-Its before a group discussion begins (Wiethoff et al 10). Another form is direct brainstorming. In this context, the participants start the group discussion immediately after knowledge of the topic and write their ideas/ results on a board. If possible, the participants generate categories within all developed ideas. (Santanen et al 00)
Brainstorming in collaboration with end-users, especially in emergency management context, is an easy-to-use but nevertheless effective method to gain an overview of a specific topic from an end-user perspective. For example, to understand ways in which end-users would search for information on a particular scenario such as preparing for a pandemic. In this case, participants were asked to think about relevant search terms. For instance, hot topics, concerns and open questions arise and indicate the need for further research or adaptation of existing systems. Forthcoming terms were written on Post-its to document the results.
The method is useful and does not require too much effort in the preparation. Without any planning, however, the implementation of the methods and thus the goal of answering specific questions may be at risk. In order not to lose the framework, a defined context should be given a scenario to focus on the brainstorming process.