Brainstorming is a well-known group creativity method.
Brainstorming is a group-based technique for developing innovative solutions. The idea is that talking about a problem with others will generate new thoughts and ideas that no individual would have thought of on their own - it promotes synergy by getting people to collaborate positively. However, brainstorming is not just having a casual conversation with your teammates. It is directed very specifically to addressing a particular issue that must be stated up front for every participant to understand. Proper brainstorming is also systematic, in the sense that there are rules to follow. Rules can be hard to follow, but following them is important to get a positive result from the session. Brainstorming can also be very tiring - it is a high-energy activity requiring active engagement by all participants for a successful session; participants must be willing to fully engage in the activity, or it is unlikely to produce positive results.
A brief history of brainstorming is available. Note its popularity in many different fields and disciplines; this is a sign that it is a good and natural way to create ideas in a collaborative way.
Brainstorming, if successful, will result in many, many ideas, some of which will be great, and others of which will be terrible. Even though a brainstorming session can be done quite quickly, it can take a lot of time to analyze the results and identify the “best” ideas. Also, brainstorming a vaguely defined problem will rarely, if ever, produce a successful result.
So, brainstorming should be used when:
Here's a quick procedural guide for brainstorming.
Further notes on these rules are available online.
There is a great deal of information on brainstorming available on the Web. See Salustri's diigo links on brainstorming for some other web resources. The best resource on the web for brainstorming is probably Brainstorming.co.uk. When you look through those links, you'll find a lot of repetition: these are the underlying principles of brainstorming that are the most important.
Also, don't fear using your team member's personality type indicator results to choose the roles (e.g. leader, scribe, etc.) that need to be assigned for good brainstorming.