With this brainstorming method, keep asking “why” – drilling down from one central idea to a variety of related niche topics you can use to move forward.
Start with a problematic outcome. For instance, “We missed our sales target for the third month in a row.” Then, ask, “Why did this happen?”
Answer that question, then ask again, “Why did this happen?” Repeat until you get to the root of the issue. You may get there in fewer than five whys. Sometimes, you may need more. Both results are OK.
This approach works best when used as a group brainstorming technique, and it helps to have a facilitator guide the conversation. Before you begin, make sure everyone agrees on exactly what problematic outcome you’re trying to solve.
Once you’ve gone through the five whys, analyze the findings and begin to develop an action plan. Remember, though, the brainstorming session isn’t a planning process but it can be a great start to one.