Re-Creative Resources
By Kimberly Grandal, BA, CTRS, ACC, Executive Director
http://www.recreativeresources.com/index.htm
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KIMBERLY GRANDAL
Executive Director
Re-Creative Resources
About Kim

Kimberly Grandal, Founder
and Executive Director of Re-
Creative Resources, Inc., is a
strong advocate for the field of
Therapeutic Recreation and
Activities, with over fifteen
years of experience working
with the elderly in numerous
management and consultant
positions.  She is an Activity
Consultant Certified and a
Certified Therapeutic
Recreation Specialist. Kim is a
member of the New Jersey
Activity Professionals
Association and the New
Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania
Therapeutic Recreation
Association.

In 1990, Kim graduated from
William Paterson University
with a BA in Sociology and
later studied gerontology
courses at Union County
College and Therapeutic
Recreation courses at Kean
University. Throughout her
career, Kim has been the
Director of Therapeutic
Recreation for several long-
term care facilities, including
one of NJ’s largest.

In 2006, Kim founded Re-
Creative Resources Inc. She is
a speaker for various state and
local activity associations such
as NJAPA, MOCAP, and
NJACA, as well as the Society
of Licensed Nursing Home
Administrators of NJ. She also
offers lectures for Re-Creative
Resources Inc., local colleges,
and community groups, and
provides consultation and
support to numerous facilities
in the state.

Kim is the editor and writer for
the “The Rec-Room", a
monthly newsletter published
by her company. In addition,
she writes monthly articles for
the Activity Directors Office
newsletter, and has contributed
articles to Creative Forecasting
Magazine, and The
Continuing Care Insite
newsletter.

Kim is a recipient of the
Kessler Institute of
Rehabilitation 1997 Triumph
of the Human Spirit Award.  
Her passion is to promote the
field of Therapeutic
Recreation and Activities and
to unite Recreation Therapists
and Activity Professionals. Kim
currently serves on the NJAPA
board as the Chairperson for
the Legislation Committee.
About
Re-Creative
Resources Inc.

Re-Creative Resources, Inc. is
committed to enhancing the
lives of long-term care
residents through the use of
Therapeutic Recreation. We
provide a variety of services
such as Therapeutic
Recreation seminars,
in-services, resources, form
development, program analysis
and development,
consultation, and support for
activity professionals and
recreational therapists. A
selection of downloadable
training materials and forms
are available for your
convenience as well as a free
job posting site.
Subscribe to Kimberly's Newsletter
See Kim's You-Tube videos (Click Here)
The Basics of Brainstorming
By Kimberly Grandal, CTRS, ACC/EDU
www.recreativeresources.com

I was just sitting here brainstorming about what type of article I should write. What do
people want to read or learn more about? What topics need to be addressed? What do
I feel comfortable writing about? How much time do I have to write this article and when
is it due? I have written numerous articles over the years ranging from documentation,
programming, and management tips, to advocacy, self-help, legislative issues, and
professionalism. There is so much to write about! But as I was typing these words, I
continued to ponder what my next topic should be.  

So, I started actively brainstorming. I thought of what’s coming up in the months ahead.
Perhaps there are recognition weeks, holidays or special themes I can write about.  
Maybe I should research other managerial topics such as time management or
productivity. I also considered writing about various programming techniques or the
latest adaptive equipment. Then it dawned on me. I should write about brainstorming!
The Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary defines brainstorming as, “a group problem-
solving technique that involves the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members
of the group”; also : “the mulling over of ideas by one or more individuals in an attempt
to devise or find a solution to a problem.”

Simply stated, brainstorming is a problem solving technique that encourages creative
thinking. The concept of brainstorming was introduced in the 1940’s by Advertising
Executive Alex F. Osborn.  The primary rule when it comes to brainstorming is that no
idea is a bad idea.  This concept is something that Activity and Recreation
Professionals really can grasp since we are often “outside the box” thinkers.
There are many benefits to an appropriately facilitated brainstorming session. Some
benefits include:
•        Increased creativity
•        Increased teamwork
•        Everyone is involved and has a chance to be heard
•        Increased employee morale and motivation
•        Better work environment
•        Increased productivity
•        Certain individuals may surprise you and impress you with their ideas
•        You may actually solve the problem!
When Osborn first introduced the concept of brainstorming it was called a “think up”
process. As stated on Mindtools.com, the original rules included:
•        The goal of a "think up" session would be to come up with as many ideas as
possible.
•        There would be absolutely no criticism of any thoughts or ideas.
•        No idea should be considered too outlandish and such ideas would be
encouraged.
•        Members of a "think up" team should build upon one another's ideas.
Brainstorming techniques and theories have been further developed over the years but
two basic ideas form the foundation of the concept. First and most importantly, there is
to be absolutely no criticism or judgments regarding one’s ideas and comments. This
is not the time to be analyzing or making decisions.  I’ve been to many meetings in
which the group was asked to brainstorm ideas for a particular subject matter or
concern. Nothing defeats the purpose of brainstorming more than one single negative
comment.

The other critical idea behind brainstorming is the idea that through quantity we will
achieve quality. Not all ideas will be great. In fact there may be some ideas that just
really aren’t appropriate for the topic at hand, however, the more ideas that are brought
to the table, the more chance of finding the right solutions. In addition, group members
often brainstorm off of each other’s idea which in turn causes a snowball effect and the
potential brilliant solution or idea is born!

There are many tips and techniques that you may find helpful when planning and
executing your next brainstorming session. First of all, make sure the topic or problem
is brainstorm-worthy and that the participants are aware of the meeting intent
beforehand. Not all meetings or gatherings are intended to be brainstorming sessions.
The analysis and decision making process can occur at another time.

Preparing for a brainstorming session is just as important as executing one. Designate
someone who will be a suitable facilitator. The facilitator should be enthusiastic, fair, a
great listener, and be able to acknowledge everyone’s ideas (good, bad, or indifferent).
It is also recommended that you have a variety of people present at the meeting. If you
are brainstorming about what to do for National Nursing Home Week, then have
someone from each department present, as well as a resident and a volunteer
perhaps.  The whole point of a brainstorming session is to gather ideas, and what
better way than by having individuals with varying educational backgrounds, roles,
skills, knowledge, etc.

Just as the environment is important for recreational activities, it is equally crucial to
facilitate the brainstorming session in an appropriate area. Be sure to hold the meeting
in a quiet area with no distractions. To really demonstrate that all members are equal, it
is recommended that the seating be in a horseshoe or circle. There shouldn’t be
someone sitting at the “head” of the table.

At the start of the meeting, the facilitator should announce the rules, reinforcing the “no
negative feedback” policy. In addition the facilitator should clearly outline the topic at
hand and what is expected to be discussed. Participation from everyone present should
be encouraged and all ideas are to be acknowledged. There are many ways in which
ideas can be documented. Some examples include: flip charts, whiteboards, sticky
notes, note pads, a secretary taking notes, tape recorder, and so on. Having ideas
written and posted throughout the room really gives a great visual for people to look at
and brainstorm off of.

Brainstorming has become a very popular way to address problems and devise
solutions therefore it is quite probable that you have already been included in one of
these sessions, whether at work or at home. Through proper implementation,
brainstorming can really promote teamwork and provide many answers to the question
at hand. So put your thinking cap on and let the brainstorming begin!

For more great management tips and information, visit
www.recreativeresources.
com/management.htm

References
Merriam-Webster(n.d.). Brainstorming. Retrieved March 27, 2011 from  
   
www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brainstorming?show=0&t=1301258454

Mind Tools (n.d). Brainstorming History. Retrieved March 27, 2011 from  
  
 www.mindtools.com/pages/Supplementary/BrainstormingHistory.htm