Step 3

Brainstorm and agree on aspects to improve

Why is the brainstorm so important?

Health challenges in livestock farming most often have several related, major and minor factor that contribute both to the problem and the solution. Similarly if you want to focus on increasing productivity levels on the farm there are often multiple proverbial buttons and levers to tweak. The brainstorm with the team members can than allow to dig deeper in the underlying causes for the superficial perceived challenge or goal. See the examples for broiler – dairy cows and sheep- pigs. The background, knowledge, experience and creativity of the different team members will shed different lights on the issue at hand and provide insight into possible solutions in the different aspects of the problem. This way you can investigate whether you can tackle a problem through adaptations in feed, management, genetics, housing, biosecurity, disease prevention and which combination of aspects suits best the context of the farm and farmer.

How to brainstorm effectively with your team?

Disregarding the specific method you want to apply in the brainstorm, there are some general principles and conditions that need to be met:

  • Relax atmosphere

    Brainstorming is all about creative thinking to come up with unconventional ideas for solutions.  People need to feel comfortable and relaxed to be able to get in this much needed creative thinking state. Therefore it is very important that participants are not stressed, that there is no time or performance pressure and a friendly atmoshpere and climate to work in without distractions: noise, heat, cold, hunger and thirst …

  • Do not set any limits or boundaries in advance

    Participants need to be free and able to come up with what might seem absurd, unrealistic ideas in the first place, you need these first unconventional ideas to tune down to final solutions. Remember brainstorming is about collecting as much as possible (un)conventional ideas that in a follow-up stage get modified into practical solutions.

  • Postpone judgement

    We all have the tendency to critically feedback on ideas of others. When brainstorming it is if utmost importance to hold back such critical remarks on proposed ideas until a later stage. Instant critique on proposed ideas will cripple creative thinking by the participants. If you must you can write down your critique instantly on paper and share it at a later stage with the team.

  • Limit the brainstorm in time

    A good brainstorm takes about 30 minutes to an hour but not longer than that, since it is hard to stay focused and in this state of creative thinking.

Specific methods suggested for brainstorming:

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 817591