Category Archives: Brainstorm Exercises

Brainstorm Technique #12: Inside The Box


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Brainstorm Technique: Alphabrainstorming

Outside the box is a vast and intimidating place. With so many possibilities and a blank piece of paper, it can be hard to know where to start. For consumers, it’s called the Paradox of Choice. It’s no different for brainstormers. At times like these, the best place to start is inside the box. Explore every corner and crevice of the box, and once the ideas start flowing then you can break down the walls and mentally frolic outside the box.

Ideal Activity For:
creativity exercises, problem solving, concept development

Brainstorm Tools:
2-3 easel pads
permanent markers
small to medium sized meeting space
list of limitations – written on individual pieces of paper

# of Participants:
1+
How To Brainstorm Inside The Box:
Pre-Brainstorm:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions
  3. Gather supplies and book a small to medium sized conference room
  4. Assemble a list of the limitations of the project (e.g. deadline, budget, manpower, etc. the more complete the list the better)

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed)

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 10-20 minutes)

  1. After quickly recapping the goal of the brainstorm session, randomly assign a limitation to each individual or group.
  2. Instruct your participants to think about how they would solve the problem if this limitation was the ONLY obstacle they faced. No other problems exist.
  3. Have teams write their ideas on easel pads labeled at the top with their limitation.
  4. If time allows (or for longer brainstorms), invite groups to select an additional obstacle when time expires.

Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 10-20 minutes)

  1. Organize all the solutions the group has brainstormed by limitation and line the walls of your conference room or meeting space.
  2. Working as a large group, review the ideas and look for solutions that naturally compliment each other. You may also use the Forced Connections approach to combine solutions.
  3. Record linked ideas on an easel pad or mark with a shared symbol (star, plus sign, etc.) to indicate the relationship between the ideas.

Brainstorm Part 3: (approx. 20 minutes)

  1. Using the solutions selected in Round 2, challenge the group to further refine the ideas to satisfy additional limitations.
  2. Start with one of the selected solutions. Introduce limitations one at a time and identify changes that need to be made to overcome the new obstacle.
  3. Follow the same process for all selected concepts.

Post-Brainstorm:

  1. Thank all the participants for their input
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group)
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It makes big ideas infinitely more portable and permanent.

 

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Brainstorm Technique #11: AlphaBrainstorming

Brainstorm Technique: AlphaBrainstorming

When it comes to generating ideas, simplicity can sometimes be key. More effort spent focusing on the structure of the brainstorm means less energy focused on generating ideas. With AlphaBrainstorming, the brainstorm uses something ingrained into the mind to help drive the brainstorm session.

Ideal Activity For:
concept development, idea generation, problem solving, divergent thinking

Brainstorm Tools:
2-3 easel pads
permanent markers
small to medium sized meeting space
Stickers or stamps (3 per participant)

# of Participants:
1+

How To Brainstorm With AlphaBrainstorming:
Pre-Brainstorm:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions
  3. Gather supplies and book a small to medium sized conference room

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed)

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 10-30 minutes)

  1. After quickly recapping the goal of the brainstorm session, ask a member of the group to offer a solution to the goal that starts with the letter A. (Person could either be selected at random or an invitation could be issued to the whole group asking someone to shout out their answer)
  2. When a solution is volunteered, record the idea on a notepad. Once the idea is recorded, the person to the left of the speaker is now challenged to come up with a new solution that begins with the letter B.
  3. This process repeats until the group has generated a solution for each letter of the alphabet. (Please note: If the ideas are still flowing, and time permits, don’t hesitate to do two or even three rotations through the alphabet.

Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 5-10 minutes)

  1. Ask each participant to come up to the notepads and review all the answers.
  2. Once they understand the available options, they must vote for their three favorite solutions from round 1.
  3. Narrow down the solutions to the top 3-5 vote-getting solutions.

Brainstorm Part 3: (approx. 20-40 minutes)

  1. Using the 3-5 solutions selected in Round 2, challenge the group the undertake a lightning round.
  2. Start with one of the selected solutions. Ask the group to quickly alphabrainstorm builds on the concept and record the builds on a notepad. (Note: Make sure to label your notepad pages, to make organizing notes easier.)
  3. Follow the same process for all selected concepts.

Post-Brainstorm:

  1. Thank all the participants for their input
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group)
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It makes big ideas infinitely more portable and permanent.

 

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Please note: we talk personal infortmaion very seriously and would never sell or distribute your personal information.

Brainstorm Technique #10: Sense From Nonsense

Brainstorm Technique: Sense From Nonsense

When it comes to problem-solving, generating a nonsense solution can be much easier than thinking of a good, workable solution. First, there’s no pressure involved in generating a solution you know is outlandish. Second, it gets the creative wheels turning and warmed up. Finally, it lightens the mood as brainstorm participants attempt to outdo each other. With Sense From Nonsense, you’ll be given full license to explore the absurd to find nuggets of wisdom that can help you achieve your brainstorm goal.

Ideal Activity For:
concept development, idea generation, theme development, blue sky thinking

Brainstorm Tools:
2-3 easel pads
permanent markers
small to medium sized meeting space

# of Participants:
4-10+

How To Brainstorm With Sense From Nonsense:
Pre-Brainstorm:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions
  3. Gather supplies and book a small to medium sized conference room

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed)

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 5-10 minutes)

  1. After quickly recapping the goal of the brainstorm session, give members to the group a few minutes to work independently to generate a nonsense solution to the opportunity at hand.
  2. If you’re working with an inexperienced group of brainstormers or creative thinkers, it may be best to develop a nonsense solution beforehand that you can read to the group. This will encourage them to push the boundaries and refrain from filtering themselves.
  3. When the group has one minute left, give them a time check and ask them to put any finishing touches on their idea.

Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 5-15 minutes)

  1. Ask each participant to pass their paper in one direction (left, right or something unique)
  2. Give the new brainstorm participant the challenge of taking the nonsense idea and looking for a nugget of wisdom.
  3. Remind them, that they’re not responsible for developing the concept. They merely need to identify what it is.
  4. To ease the process of finding the nugget, invite participants to consider the exact opposite of the nonsense solution, change one key feature for the positive or exaggerate  some aspect of their nonsense solution in a positive manner.

Brainstorm Part 3: (approx. 20-40 minutes)

  1. Invite brainstorm participants to share their nugget with the larger group.
  2. Record ideas on an easel pad and invite everyone to build on and further explore them.
  3. Encourage conversation about each suggestion by asking probing questions.

Post-Brainstorm:

  1. Thank all the participants for their input
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group)
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It’s often easiest to take digital photos for reference at a later date.

inspired by a suggestion from @cazazz

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Brainstorm Technique #9 – SuperModding

Brainstorm Technique: SuperModding

A super modified race car looks very similar to a standard car, except one or two attributes are exaggerated. Whether it’s a big, shiny engine or an enormous wing on the top of the car, it’s hard to miss. With supermodding, you apply the same basic process to the subject of your brainstorm session.

Ideal Activity For:
concept development, exploration of existing concepts, idea generation, product differentiation, line extension

Brainstorm Tools:
2-3 easel pads
permanent markers
small to medium sized meeting space

# of Participants:
4-10+

How To Brainstorm With SuperModding:
Pre-Brainstorm:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions
  3. Gather supplies and book a small to medium sized conference room

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed)

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 7-10 minutes)

  1. Begin with a quick brain dump of attributes of the subject of the brainstorm session
  2. Invite participants to shout out any attribute they can think of whether it’s a physical, emotional or other type of attribute
  3. Record all the suggested attributes on an easel pad

Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 8-15 minutes)

  1. Break the brainstorm session into small groups of two members
  2. Quickly review the suggested attributes and assign one attribute to each group in the brainstorm.
  3. Encourage them to spend the next few minutes discussing what the idea would be like if their assigned attribute was pushed to one extreme or the other. For example, if our product was dog food and our attribute was “portion size”, what would a dog food that offered more food than your dog could possibly eat be like? How would it be packaged? What would the ads say?
  4. Make sure that each group has assigned one person to capture their thinking on paper.

Brainstorm Part 3: (approx. 15-20 minutes)

  1. Reassemble as a large group and invite each brainstorm team to share their favorite 2-3 ideas with the group.
  2. Once each group has finished sharing their ideas, invite other teams to build and develop ideas.
  3. Select favorite ideas and discuss how they can be refined to fit the subject of the brainstorm session as it currently exists or discuss what simple modifications can be made to the product to bring it more closely in line with the idea.

Brainstorm Part 4-5: (approx. 30-45 minutes)

  1. As time permits, revisit Parts 1-3 to develop more attributes.
  2. After each round, consider reorganizing teams to provide fresh thinking for each round.
  3. Once new teams have been formed, assign a new attribute to each group.

Post-Brainstorm:

  1. Thank all the participants for their input
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group)
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It’s often easiest to take digital photos of the sticky note groupings for reference at a later date.

 

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Please note: we talk personal infortmaion very seriously and would never sell or distribute your personal information.

Brainstorm Technique #8 – 0-60

Brainstorm Technique: 0-60
Just like the name suggests, this brainstorm technique is all about speed. The point is to find 60 different solutions to the main question of your brainstorm session. Don’t worry about filtering your thoughts. As fast as the ideas are generated,  they should be recorded. Remember, speed is the key.

Ideal Activity For:
idea generation, headline exploratory, plot exploratory, product naming,

Brainstorm Tools:
For an individual: laptop or paper & pen

For groups:
1-2 easel pads or 4” x 6” sticky notes
permanent markers
tape or thumbtacks
small stickers

# of Participants:
1 – 6*

*Since this exercise depends on speed and accuracy in capturing the groups suggestions, it’s important to limit to size of the group so that all the ideas generated are captured. For groups larger than 6, consider breaking into multiple smaller groups.

How To Brainstorm With 0-60:
Pre-Brainstorm:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights.
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions.
  3. Gather supplies and book a small to medium-sized conference room.
  4. If you choose, you can draw 60 numbered blanks on your easel pages for your brainstorm participants to fill in with their ideas.

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants.
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™.
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed).

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 5-20 minutes)

  1. Once the brainstorm group understands the key question that’s driving the brainstorm session, invite them to begin filling out the list of 60 solutions. [NOTE: The number 60 is used for illustrative purposes only, for your brainstorm you may choose any number of solutions you wish. Just adjust the time limit accordingly.]
  2. Not every idea thrown out will directly answer the question that’s driving the brainstorm. However, it’s important to capture every solution offered. So, on one easel pad create a “waiting area” where partially formed ideas can be stored without filling in one of your 60 spaces. Occasionally remind brainstorm participants of interesting nuggets stored in this area, and encourage them to further develop these ideas.
  3. Once the brainstorm group has reached its idea quota, step back from the easel pads and let the blood flow return to your writing hand.

Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 5-10 minutes)

  1. Spread the easel pad sheets around the room using tape or thumbtacks to attached them to the wall.
  2. Invite members of the brainstorm group to circulate around the room and briefly review all the ideas captured during the brainstorm session.
  3. Give each member of the group 1 vote per 10 ideas generated and invite them to vote for their favorite ideas by placing a sticker next to the ideas they like most.
  4. Capture the most popular ideas on a new easel pad.

Brainstorm Part 3: (approx. 20-45 minutes)

  1. Spend this session further developing the most popular brainstorm ideas.
  2. Record each idea on its own sheet of paper and invite brainstorm participants to call out their builds.
  3. If the brainstorm group begins to lose momentum, ask questions to lead the group’s effort, such as:
  • If we could change one thing about this idea to make it more complete, what would it be?
  • This idea is a good start, how can we build on it to get us closer to our goal?
  • What could we do with this idea that would make it uniquely ownable to your brand/company/group?

Post-Brainstorm:

  1. Thank all the participants for their input.
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group).
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It’s often easiest to take digital photos of the easel pads for reference at a later date.

Get the WEEKLY update about brainstorming and creative thinking from BrainBoltz.com.


 

Please note: we talk personal infortmaion very seriously and would never sell or distribute your personal information.

Brainstorm Technique #7 – Creative Curve Ball

Brainstorm Technique: Creative Curve Ball
If you’ve ever watched baseball, you know nothing throws a hitter off more than when they’re looking for one pitch and you get another. This technique brings that concept to your brainstorm session by introducing random stimuli to your creative process. The idea is to use the random stimuli to encourage thinking in new and unexpected directions.

Ideal Brainstorm Activity For:
idea generation, concept development, exploration of existing concepts

Brainstorm Tools:
2-3 easel pads
permanent markers
small to medium-sized meeting space (depending on the number of participants)
creative curve balls (random items of inspiration)
container (to hold creative curve balls)
# of Participants:
4 – 15+

How To Brainstorm With Creative Curve Ball:
Pre-Brainstorm:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights.
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions.
  3. Assemble a selection of random stimuli to serve as creative curve balls. This could be anything ranging from pages randomly torn out of magazines to things you borrowed from your co-workers’ desks. Make sure you have enough stimuli for each person in the meeting to grab at least 2 things.
  4. Gather supplies and book a small to medium-sized conference room.

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed)

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 20-30 minutes)

  1. Begin by dividing your brainstorm group into smaller teams of 2-3 and reminding the groups of the goal you are trying to achieve in the meeting.
  2. Allow each group member to pull a creative curve ball and instruct the groups to utilize their collective curve balls to develop unique solutions to the goal of the meeting.
  3. Give the groups time to work together to use their creative curve ball to develop a unique solution to the goal you established.

Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 20-30 minutes)

  1. Have teams select their best concepts to present back to the larger group.
  2. Invite members of the larger group to build and develop the ideas presented with any ideas they may have.
  3. Record the ideas shared and any builds on an easel pad for the group to review.

Brainstorm Part 3: (approx. 5-15 minutes)

  1. Review the remaining, unselected stimuli with the larger group. Invite them to share any ideas or thought starters with the group.
  2. Record any ideas on an easel pad for further discussion and review.

Post-Brainstorm:

  1. Thank all the participants for their input
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group)
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It’s often easiest to take digital photos of the easel pads for reference at a later date.

 

Get the WEEKLY update about brainstorming and creative thinking from BrainBoltz.com.


 

Please note: we talk personal infortmaion very seriously and would never sell or distribute your personal information.

Brainstorm Technique #6 – Brainstorm Go Round

Brainstorm Technique: Brainstorm Go Round

Ideas are often hard to explore in a large group setting because it’s so easy for one voice to get lost in the crowd. The quickest and most efficient way to further develop a concept in a group is with the brainstorm technique known as Brainstorm Go Round. In this method, you begin the brainstorm with two or more kernels of thought. Groups are challenged to brainstorm against each of these thought starters in successive order.

Ideal Activity For:
concept development, exploration of existing concepts

Brainstorm Tools:
1 easel pad for each idea kernel
permanent markers for each easel pad
medium to large sized meeting space

# of Participants:
8 – 15+

How To Brainstorm With Brainstorm Go Round:
Pre-Brainstorm:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions
  3. Develop the idea kernels in an individual or small group brainstorm. An exercise such as mind mapping would be ideal for this portion of the pre-brainstorm
  4. Gather supplies and book a medium to large sized conference room.
  5. Prior to the beginning of the brainstorm session, create individual ideation areas for each idea kernel. Ideation areas should be spread apart as much as possible, and each area should feature its own easel pad, markers and seating.

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed)

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 30-45 minutes)

  1. Begin by dividing your brainstorm group into smaller teams. To maximize the output, teams should equal the number of idea kernels you’re planning to develop and should be no smaller than 3 members.
  2. Give each group the idea kernel they will start the brainstorm session with and send them to one of the ideation areas.
  3. Ask all the teams to begin brainstorming ideas related to their kernel for 10-15 minutes.
  4. When the time expires, ask the teams to leave their ideation area exactly as it currently is and move one station to their right. In the new ideation area, each group will briefly review the previous group’s notes and begin brainstorming against the same topic. [Please Note: Each group has the option to build on existing ideas or generate unique ideas of their own.]
  5. In 10-15 minutes have the groups move one station to the right again. This process will continue until each group has visited each ideation area.

Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 10-15 minutes)

  1. For part 2, have each group move back to their original ideation area and review the work of all the groups.
  2. After reviewing the collective work, invite the groups to select their favorite concepts to share with the larger group.

Brainstorm Part 3: (approx. 10-15 minutes)

  1. As the groups present the selected ideas to the larger group, invite participants to build and develop the shared concepts.
  2. Capture the shared ideas and any builds on an easel pad for future reference.

Post-Brainstorm:

  1. Thank all the participants for their input
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group)
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It’s often easiest to take digital photos of the easel pads for reference at a later date.

Get the WEEKLY update about brainstorming and creative thinking from BrainBoltz.com.


 

Please note: we talk personal infortmaion very seriously and would never sell or distribute your personal information.

Brainstorm Technique #5 – Forced Connections

Brainstorm Technique: Forced Connections

The brainstorm technique known as forced connections is designed to take two unrelated concepts and forge a relationship between them. In this process, the brainstorm group is usually divided into subgroups, which can be as small as two people. This group picks two topics at random and is challenged to brainstorm a way to connect them together.

Ideal Activity For:
branding, concept generation, event planning

Brainstorm Tools:
4-6 20”x30” easel pads
20+ small pieces of paper (for forced connection topics)
2-3 small cups or other containers
permanent markers

# of Participants:
4 – 10+

How To Brainstorm With Forced Connections:
Pre-Brainstorm:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions
  3. Pre-brainstorm forced connection topics. To do this, begin by creating two or more topics. For example, if the subject of the brainstorm was dog food, two possible topics could be “likable traits about dogs” and “benefits of the dog food.” Think of words or phrases that match these two categories and write them down on small pieces of paper. Separate the ideas by topic and place them in a container together.
  4. Gather remaining supplies and book a conference room (if needed)

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed)

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 10-20 minutes)

  1. Divide your brainstorm group into smaller teams of 2-3 people, and allow them to pick one topic from each of your categories.
  2. Give the groups a pre-determined time to create a connection between the topics drawn. If, after a few minutes, a group is still struggling to create a connection between the words they’ve drawn, allow them to put one of their words back into the container and draw a new word.
  3. Encourage groups to record their thoughts on a piece of paper that will be turned in at the end of the brainstorm.
  4. Repeat this exercise as time and available brainstorm topics permit. Feel free to reorganize the groups between each round.

Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 10-30 minutes)

  1. Ask each group to share their ideas with the larger group. Each group should start by revealing the two starter topics they received as inspiration.
  2. Record the shared ideas on easel pads.
  3. Invite other brainstorm participants to build as thoughts occur to them.

Post-Brainstorm:

  1. Thank all the participants for their input
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group)
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It’s often easiest to take digital photos of easel pads for reference at a later date.

Get the WEEKLY update about brainstorming and creative thinking from BrainBoltz.com.


 

Please note: we talk personal infortmaion very seriously and would never sell or distribute your personal information.

Brainstorm Technique #4 – Bridge Building

Brainstorm Technique: Bridge Building
You’ve identified where you are. You’ve identified where you want to be. But you need to figure out how to get from here to there. This brainstorm technique is designed to help you build a bridge from where you are to where you want to go. Whether you accomplish the task with one big idea or develop several smaller ideas that combine to cross the span, you’ll finish your brainstorm session with a variety of methods that will accomplish your goal.

Ideal Activity For:
mid and long-range planning, rebranding, product or business relaunches

Brainstorm Tools:
2-3 packs of oversized sticky notes (3”x5” or larger)
permanent markers

# of Participants:
1 – 10+

How To Brainstorm With Bridge Building:
Pre-Brainstorm:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions
  3. Gather supplies and book a conference room (if needed)

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed)

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 30-45 minutes)

  1. Begin by identifying the starting and ending point of your bridge and recording them on two separate sticky notes.
  2. Place the sticky notes a distance apart on the wall and invite the brainstorm participants to begin building a bridge between the starting point and ending point.
  3. As participants call out ideas, record each idea on its own sticky note.
  4. If the brainstorm group begins to lose momentum, ask questions to lead the group’s effort, such as:
    • This idea is a good start, how can we build on it to get us closer to our goal?
    • Rather than starting at the beginning, how can we build backwards from the ending point?
    • What’s something you always thought the company should do that might accomplish our goal here today?

 Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 10-15 minutes)

  1. Begin Part 2 by inviting the group to group together sticky notes that feature similar tactics or are dependant upon each other to accomplish the end goal of the brainstorm. Invite brainstorm participants to take an active role in the discussion of which notes belong together, you might even invite them to move notes around the wall together.
  2. Now that the notes are grouped together tactically, it’s time to sort them again using another criteria. In this second phase of Part 2, sort the ideas based on timeline. Group together ideas that are actionable now, in the next year and beyond one year. [NOTE: If ideas work together to accomplish the goal of your brainstorm, it is important to keep them grouped together in this phase. For example, if one idea in the set can’t be accomplished in the next year move the whole set of notes to that category.]

 Post-Brainstorm:

  1. Thank all the participants for their input
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group)
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It’s often easiest to take digital photos of the sticky note groupings for reference at a later date.

Get the WEEKLY update about brainstorming and creative thinking from BrainBoltz.com.


 

Please note: we talk personal infortmaion very seriously and would never sell or distribute your personal information.

Brainstorm Technique #3 – Free Writing

Brainstorm Technique: Free Writing
Free writing is a time-tested technique for brainstorming unique and interesting ideas. The main difference between free writing and a lot of other brainstorm techniques, is that free writing doesn’t typically deliver a wide-ranging quantity of ideas. Instead, it delivers a great deal of quantity on ONE specific subject. As a result, free writing is a phenomenal brainstorming tool when you’ve already identified a specific subject and the purpose of your brainstorm is identifying how to bring it to life.

Ideal Activity For:
Idea generation, Idea refinement, Story development, Brand voice exploratory, Insight generation

Brainstorm Tools:
Letter size sheets of paper & pens (enough for everyone in the meeting)
2-3 20” x 30” (or larger) easel pads / dry erase board
permanent markers / dry erase markers
Oven timer

# of Participants:
1 – 6

How To Brainstorm With Free Writing:
Pre-Brainstorm:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions
  3. Gather supplies and book a conference room (if needed)

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed)

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 5-10 minutes per free writing subject)

  1. Start with a simple question or thought that is related to the purpose of your brainstorm. For example, in a brainstorm about dog food, the question could be “Tell me about your earliest positive memory of a dog.”
  2. Set the oven timer to a pre-determined time limit.
  3. Invite brainstorm participants to write about their answer to your question. Here’s the catch. They can’t stop writing until the oven timer goes off. It doesn’t matter what they write, as long as they keep writing for the duration of the brainstorm session about the question they were asked.

Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 5-10 minutes)

  1. Ask participants to pass their free writing assignment to their left (or the right, you decide) [NOTE: IF you’re utilizing this technique alone, take some time away from your free writing and come back to it with fresh eyes rather than passing your assignment to a partner.]
  2. Invite the new reader to take some time and digest the free writing assignment they’ve received. Their task is to underline any content they find unique or interesting AND to provide a one sentence summary of the entire story.

Brainstorm Part 3: (approx. 20-30 minutes)

  1. Each brainstorm participant reads out their summary to the group and identifies any copy points they found unique or interesting.
  2. Record the summary sentence and interesting points on an easel pad.
  3. As a group dissect and build on the content on the easel pad. Ask questions such as: Are there any insights here that can help us better our brainstorm topic? Is there a common theme that all the free writing assignments all share that we can apply to our brainstorm topic?

Post-Brainstorm:

  1. Thank all the participants for their input
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group)
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It’s often easiest to take digital photos of the boards and notes for reference at a later date.  Be sure to collect all the free writing assignments. [NOTE: It is important to collect these pages and review them on your own. As the brainstorm leader, you may be able to collect additional insights that were overlooked by some of the brainstorm participants.]

 

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