Brainstorming is an old technique for gathering ideas from a group, but if it’s done with attention to ALL the rules, including no judging, it’s really effective. If groups are not allowed to put down wacky ideas, it defeats the purpose.
These eight rules to “Brilliant Brainstorming” give a good explanation of the skill and mindset that is needed for success at this method for facilitating brainstorming. You need more than a flip chart and markers to do it well. I use timing, taking turns, a Tack-E-Wall, to manage the brainstorming, but that’s another post.
This Web site from Studio 1151 provides a clear description of brainstorming, and includes a process for narrowing ideas after the initial discussion.