Whether it is thinking of a new idea for work or finding the solution to a problem, the process of brainstorming techniques is not so easy. Read on!
Also, one might not be able to come up with new ideas instantly. The only option left at such a stage is to use the technique of brainstorming. Brainstorming is one of the most effective techniques for finding new ideas or solutions.
Companies use brainstorming techniques all the time to develop new ideas and solutions to any existing problem. But the question remains; What is brainstorming? In this article, we’ll learn about brainstorming, its uses, and the different brainstorming techniques used by both individuals and groups.
What is brainstorming?
If we go by the definition of brainstorming in Merriam-Webster, it is a group problem-solving technique that involves the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members of the group. What it simply means is that brainstorming is a group process to find out new ideas.
In brainstorming, one or more individuals (in the case of group brainstorming) come together to share their ideas regarding a common goal. All these ideas are noted down during the session. And after the session is over, based on the value of the ideas, the best one is implemented. We can better understand brainstorming through these two examples,
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What is the purpose of brainstorming?
Many times, people tend to be reluctant to share their ideas. This is because they fear being judged by others. The primary purpose of brainstorming is to remove that fear. As every idea is noted down during a brainstorming session, that way team members tend to be more active and less frightened of judgment. It also increases the quantity of possible new ideas, whether they are suitable for implementation or not.
Difference between individual & group brainstorming
As seen from the examples mentioned above, brainstorming techniques can be carried out by a group or a single person. When a single person uses brainstorming techniques to find new ideas, it is called individual brainstorming. On the other hand, when more than one person indulges in brainstorming activities, it is called group brainstorming.
Both of which have their own sets of pros and cons. For example, an individual can come up with more original ideas than a group. But, solving problems regarding those ideas becomes easier in a group than a single person.
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What are the different types of brainstorming techniques?
Brainstorming techniques are methods used by an individual or a group during a brainstorming session to come up with new ideas. There are several types of brainstorming techniques available for use.
The list of brainstorming techniques is a long one and can’t be covered in a single article. And for this purpose, we’ll be discussing the seven most effective brainstorming techniques,
1. Charrette method
This is one of the brainstorming techniques that divides the large group into smaller sub-groups. Each sub-group is given a topic to discuss and pass on to the next sub-group. After all the sub-groups have discussed the topic, the leading person collects all the ideas and evaluates them to find out the most suitable one. It is one of the most refined brainstorming techniques as the idea gets scrutinized several times before being implemented.
2. Round Robin brainstorming technique
Round robin is a popular brainstorming method. In this, each member of the group sits in a circle, and one after another writes or speaks aloud their ideas. The benefit of this brainstorming technique is that everyone takes an active part in the process. So, there are no bystanders during the session.
3. Starbursting brainstorming techniques
This brainstorming technique frequently used by companies to come up with new ideas. In this brainstorming method, the participants, instead of finding solutions, are asked to find questions relating to the topic. After they have covered all the possible questions about the given topic, they eventually start to answer them.
4. Step ladder brainstorming techniques
This process of brainstorming techniques has the least amount of bias. This is because, in this brainstorming technique, individuals have to come up with their original ideas before discussing them with others. It is done by asking two members to start the discussion on the given topic and then gradually adding more members to it one by one. Thus, there is less chance of members getting biased while coming up with the ideas.
5. Mind mapping brainstorming techniques
Mind mapping is both a creative and analytical brainstorming method. Here, the core idea is drawn in the middle of a page, and related subtopics are drawn around the core idea. The process is repeated, treating each subtopic as the core idea until all the elements are covered. Being both creative and analytical is more effective in finding a solution.
6. Reverse brainstorming techniques
is one of the oldest and effective brainstorming techniques. Coming up with new ideas at the drop of a hat is quite tricky at times, and thus this brainstorming method becomes effective. In this method, the participants are asked to find problems related to the given topic. After listing all the issues associated with the topic, they start finding the opposite ideas to the problem. And thus, as a by-product, they find the required solution.
7. Online brainstorming techniques
Also called ‘virtual brainstorming’ or ‘electronic brainstorming’. Here a group of people indulges in a brainstorming session over the internet. Unlike traditional brainstorming, here the members of the group don’t require to be present at the same place. They can be a part of the session for remote places.
One of the most common online brainstorming techniques is sharing ideas to collaborate over software like Google Docs, online whiteboards, or a virtual watercooler software, like unremot. Many people also use mind mapping software to create and share mind maps with the other participants over the internet.
8. Gap filling to brainstorm ideas
One of the different types of brainstorming techniques where you need to initiate your statement mentioning the state of where you are currently with the problem. Then mention a statement of what you want to achieve. The participants will brainstorm ideas to fill in the gap to reach the goal. Collect all the brainstorm possible solutions and organize them.
9. Drivers analysis brainstorming methods
One of the brainstorming methods or ideas generation methods to decipher the business drivers behind the problems. The drivers can be related to productivity, market intelligence, competition etc. Once you understand the drivers through the brainstorm exercises, it paves the way to create an acceptable solution.
10. SWOT Analysis for brainstorm exercise
A very popular brainstorm exercise and one of the best methods of brainstorming for identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a company or idea or a solution. It is a sort of perfect brainstorm process where you can potentially derive new ideas in each of the categories for a detailed analysis.
11. The five whys for a brain storming exercise
One of the very popular and best brainstorming techniques used for a brainstorming exercise. The Five Whys guides in enhancing the thought processes. In this particular brainstorming activity, you need to ask questions starting with a “Why” and continue of deep dive to arrive at the root cause of the problem or issue.
12. Brain writing as a brainstorm method
A brainstorm method developed by Crawford, a renowned professor, in the 1920s. It is one of the interesting brainstorming activities for adults. Index cards are distributed where each participant anonymously writes down their ideas. The ideas are then randomly circulated across the other participants for adding or criticizing the ideas.
13. Collaborative brainwriting as a brainstorming method
It is one of the good group brainstorming strategies for generating ideas collaboratively. In this brainstorming method, the moderator writes the question or issue on a big piece of paper. The paper is then posted to all the participants for collating their ideas that can be done by forming groups.
14. Role storming idea generating technique
In this idea generating technique, the participants are asked to imagine themselves as a customer or a manager to whom the idea is related. The process of brainstorming involves enacting the roles, expressing the levels of satisfaction and acceptance of the solution. Discuss the expected outcomes and arrive at a creative brainstorming proposition.
15. Figure storming as ideas generation techniques
One of the unique brainstorming ideas generation techniques. In this brainstorming method, a familiar fictional or historical character is selected. The participants have to imagine how the person would have handled the particular problem and approached the solution. Quite an innovative examples of brainstorming techniques and brainstorming innovation method.
16. Rapid ideation brainstorming processes
Rapid ideation is one of the useful and interesting brainstorming processes. These particular brainstorming techniques indulges the participants to write down fruitful ideas in a specified period. They need to share the ideas with the whole group aloud in the brain storming process; a way to collate and deliberate on the thoughts.
17. Trigger storming group brainstorming techniques
Trigger storming is one of the group brainstorming techniques where you can go ahead with effective brainstorming by dividing the participants into groups. Each group is provided with a trigger statement to start with that they need to complete as a way to resolve the problems in this particular brainstorming exercise.
18. What-if brainstorm techniques
What-If is one of the prominent brainstorm techniques followed by many companies worldwide. In this brainstorming process, you need to ask several What-if questions to arrive at the solution. It can be the best way to brainstorm creative and fun-filled ideas from the participants with different ways of thinking.
19. Six thinking hats as one of the brainstorming strategies
Six Thinking Hats is one of the interesting brainstorming strategies where the participants are encouraged to wear different types of hats. It can be of a customer, senior manager, an observer, etc. The hats assist in visualizing the issues through different angles and then resolving them appropriately in this particular idea generation technique.
20. Word banking group brainstorming techniques
Word Banking is an intelligent and intellectual-based group brainstorming techniques. List down some words and ideas related to the problems. Divide the participants into groups and share words that are relatable and ask them to define a topic with them. It is one of the creative brainstorming exercises for dividing the program or project into meaningful work packets.
Top 5 brainstorming ideas
In this section, we will discuss the top 5 brainstorming ideas that will be in sync with the brainstorming techniques defined in the previous section. How do brainstorm ideas in the sessions to arrive at an acceptable solution? or What does brainstorming involve? Brainstorming companies must be aware that brainstorming is the basic technique of ideating solutions, as elaborated below.
Intellectual brainstorming session ideas
Here are some of the intellectual brainstorming session ideas to select and refer to,
- Select some random brainstorming alternatives ideas good or bad
- Analyze and deep dive into each through brainstorming facilitation techniques
- Finalize the best ones for the brainstorming solutions
Interesting brainstorm session ideas
Illustrated below are some of the interesting brainstorm session ideas for guidance,
- Invite a small group for the brain storming process
- Apply one of the popular methods of generating ideas within the group
- Select the brainstorming formats – online, written or verbal depending on the brainstorm methods
- Consult a brainstorming article, work on drawing different types of brainstorming charts and prepare a list of brainstorming question or questions.
Individual brainstorming ideas
Some brainstorming ideas that need individual attention and focus,
- Adopting the brainstorming techniques best suited for your company and the problems at hand
- Introduce some brainstorming creative games and activities
- Allow space for some brainstorming creativity thoughts and ideas
- Bring in good brainstorming for discussion and analysis
Fun-filled brainstorm meeting ideas
Brainstorm meeting ideas filled with fun or fun brainstorming activities are sure to boost up the interest level of the participants,
- You can ask the team to imagine themselves as cartoon fictional characters for the brainstorming prompts
- They can try to interpret the problems by putting the hat of those characters as an innovative brainstorming method
Structured brainstorming ideas
How do you brainstorm fruitfully and in a structured manner?
- Always defer judgment on the solutions at the end of the brainstorm workshop
- Suggest to focus on individuals and each of their brainstorm idea
- If in groups, allow the members to think collectively for better brainstorm facilitation
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Top 5 brain storming games
In the previous sections, we have gained considerable experience in the different brainstorming techniques and idea generation techniques as well. In this section, we will focus on prevalent brain storming games that can be conducted between the participants for fun-filled ways to brainstorm ideas. These are some of the effective ways to brainstorm solution and also go for an effective brainstorming design.
Non-judgemental brainstorming game
Considered to be a great brainstorming game where the participants are invited to share their ideas randomly. It is one of the effective brainstorming techniques for collecting a plethora of ideas to decide and analyze. Besides in this brainstorming methodology, you can organize a vote on the key ideas collected to arrive at a consensus.
News conference brainstorming games
One of the interesting brainstorming games and creative brainstorming techniques to play in pairs. You must prepare some brainstorm topics examples for the pairs to ponder upon. They are then invited to debate and argue with each other for firming their solution and ideas. Among the various types of brainstorming strategies, News Conference is considered to be an interesting one.
Create brainstorming list via The in-and-out game
In this particular brainstorming technique or game, you must create a brainstorming list of ideas and topics. From the brainstorming lists of ideas, ask the participants to hear out and do a thumbs up and thumbs down on each. One of the prominent brainstorm activities for adults to arrive at a relevant conclusion.
Persona brainstorm solutions and games
Persona brainstorm solutions and games are essentially a way to represent characters and enact their expectations. The persona can be of a customer or internal stakeholders of the company. You can also select an anti-persona character to create a counter outcome to the ideas. A typical brainstorming example can be a customer vs a competitor.
Team brainstorming via group sketching
If you are looking for a team brainstorming game, then group sketching is one of the ideal brainstorming techniques for groups. It can be in the form of brainstorming graphics online or handmade diagrams. One participant starts and then the drawing is further enhanced in sequence by the rest of the participants; a replica of the solution is thus invented through the brainstorming graphic images or drawings.
Top 5 brainstorm activities
Let us now discuss some interesting and fun brainstorming activities for professionals. These activities will act as a guide for conducting different ways to brainstorm ideas and potential solutions. Be it brainstorming in business or a corporate, you can refer to the top 5 brainstorm activities or brainstorm techniques as a ready reckoner.
Pushy Salesperson brainstorm activity
If you are looking for ideas on brainstorming exercises for groups, the best is the pushy salesperson brainstorm activity. Divide into groups and ask each group to sell a product or service. You can derive the features that need to be present in the product or service depending on the convincing abilities; one of the interesting brainstorming techniques.
Zero draft method as an example of brainstorming activities
The zero draft method is one of the simplest examples of brainstorming activities wherein ideas are started afresh. The objective, expected outcome, ideas, and the stakeholders are all written down leveraging brainstormer online mechanisms or through brainstorming, help write-ups. This particular example of brainstorming activity is slow yet smooth and seamless.
Like or dislike brainstorming activities
Prepare a brainstorm list of potential ideas for the solution. Place it before the participants as you initiate the brainstorming activities. Each individual needs to like or dislike the contents in the list through idea brainstorming. It is one of the business brainstorming strategies to shortlist potential ideas.
Word association group brainstorming activities
Word association is one of the popular group brainstorming activities. The concept of this idea brainstorm technique is to break down the project or program into multiple tasks. Similar words are grouped to associate with each task to derive a solution by connecting ideas and thoughts.
Format game as one of the team brainstorming activities
Format game is one of the interesting team brainstorming activities. Brainstorming groups are provided with different content formats like checklist, glossary, infographic, podcast etc. Each participant pens down the ideas related to the content format. Well, one of the typical brainstorming activities for groups to ponder upon vivid ideas and arrive at prospective solutions.
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Interesting brain storming examples
The brain storming examples in this section will help you to conduct your brain storming sessions effectively and efficiently. You can ideate well since brainstorming is the basic technique for developing potential solutions to problems. And the brainstorming list example or examples mentioned in this section will be helpful.
Group based brainstorming examples
A company needs to launch an ad campaign for one of its new products. The creative team is required to come up with ideas for the campaign. All members of the creative team will sit and discuss various ideas that come to their minds.
Someone takes note of all the ideas during the session, then they evaluate them when the session is over. After the evaluation, the most relevant idea will be turned into an ad for the product. This group discussion is an example of brainstorming.
Imagery based brainstorm examples
A graphic designer is asked to design a logo for the client. First, they will gather information about the client and its nature. After that, they will try to find out imagery that suits the client and its environment the best.
When they find the perfect imagery, they will begin to work on designing the logo. In this case, the technique implemented, where they thought and looked for ideas to find the perfect imagery, to match the client’s needs can be called brainstorming.
Brainstorming ideas examples through efficient moderated sessions
One of the brainstorming ideas examples is to select the qualified moderator for the sessions. The moderator presents the problem to the group and initiates a discussion with the participants. In this brainstorming session example, the moderator plan and organizes the sessions, welcoming ideas from the participants to arrive at the required outcome.
Examples of brainstorming exercises and games
Brainstorming exercises, games, and fun-filled activities are the best examples of conducting a fruitful group brainstorm session. Brainstorming is the basic technique for developing new ideas by creating different types of brainstorming diagrams, playing interesting games of word shuffle, character imitations, etc.
Brainstorming sample for tutorials
It is good to refer to a brainstorming tutorial for conducting an effective session by following the popular brainstorming techniques. A typical brainstorming sample for such tutorials must comprise a template to collect data about the program, ideas and likes/dislikes template for shortlisting ideas.
Rules to be followed while using brainstorming techniques
The brainstorming techniques are only as good as their implementation. How they have been carried out plays a significant role in the result. Thus, it is always advised to follow these general rules given below to make sure the brainstorming session is productive,
- Judgment is one of the biggest hindrances to new ideas. Many times, people feel reluctant to share their ideas due to the fear of being judged. And hence, many great ideas don’t even get the chance to be discussed. Thus deferring any form of judgment is the key to find out the best idea.
- Treating each idea as equal. Sometimes, some of the ideas may sound quite extreme or wild. But it is to be remembered that during brainstorming, every opinion counts. Also, these ideas force us to break out of our comfort zones and do something that is innovative. Something which is not possible to do while restricting ourselves to the boundaries of our comfort zone.
- Encouraging everyone to have active participation. No matter which brainstorming technique is used, it all comes down to the active participation of all team members. The more they are included in it, the better the chances are of coming up with an innovative new idea.
- Building on each others’ ideas is also something that improves the result of any brainstorming technique. Instead of refuting the idea of fellow participants, everyone should encourage ideas and add to it
- One of the biggest problems of brainstorming is losing track of the goal. It is quite easy to lose track when multiple directions are being pursued during the session. However, keeping the goal in focus will not only save time but also help come up with better, useful, and relevant ideas.
- As these brainstorming techniques produce dynamic ideas, it is always better to write down or draw out the ideas using a mind map or other visualization. This will make sure no idea is forgotten throughout the discussion.
- Every participant needs to be attentive and listen to each other’s ideas. Generally what happens is, after a point in time, everyone starts talking on their own without listening to the other person. Thus, some might lose their attention. To avoid this, only one participant should be allowed to speak at a time without any interruptions from others.
- Pay more attention to quantity than quality. Striving for quality is something that should be avoided during brainstorming. The sole purpose of this process is to accumulate many ideas. Analysis of the quality of the ideas can be done after the brainstorming session comes to an end. In that way, the number of views will not be limited.
Advantages and disadvantages of brainstorming techniques
Here are some of the advantages of brainstorming,
- All ideas from sessions can be used later, even if they are not suitable for implementation at the current moment.
- The number of possible ideas increases due to the usage of brainstorming techniques.
- Especially during group brainstorming, the creativity of multiple people helps to find an idea within a shorter period.
- It allows the person or group of person to use the maximum level of creativity during the session.
- The ideas coming out from brainstorming get refined due to being discussed by several people.
Here are some of the disadvantages of brainstorming,
- Some ideas may be unrelated and unsuitable for the topic.
- It is easy to lose sight of the goal.
- There is a chance of ideas being biased.
- Fear of judgment and peer pressure also can be faced especially by the shy participants.
How to brainstorm effectively when in remote?
How to brain effectively while working with remote team members? Here are some of the steps to follow,
- Select any of the well-defined brainstorming techniques like starbursting technique, round-robin brainstorming technique, etc.
- Select a perfect moderator with experience in conducting sessions for ideas brainstorming
- Refer to articles about brainstorming, brainstorming techniques ppt, self-learning videos, etc. for a better understanding of how to conduct the sessions especially with employees working in a remote environment
- Leverage the idea of clicking brainstorming photo, drawing graphics, or creating images
- Utilize online tools as an alternative to brainstorming traditional methods for better participation
Brainstorming techniques if implemented correctly, can help in finding innovative and quick solutions to problems. Thus, it is a valuable method for both individuals and groups when the need arises. All that’s required is to follow the guidelines and have a clear idea of the goal. That way, it is possible to reap the benefit of these techniques.
What is an example of brainstorming?
Finding the right idea and direction for a new advertising campaign is an example of brainstorming.
Is brainstorming good or bad?
Like every other thing, the use of brainstorming techniques also has its pros and cons; But if used following the right methodology, It can help individuals and teams come up with new ideas for a task.
Can only groups use brainstorming techniques?
No, both groups and individuals can use brainstorming techniques to come up with new ideas or find solutions to problems.
Do you need to be present at the same place for brainstorming?
No, with the increasing use of the internet, even brainstorming doesn’t require everyone to be present at the same place for group brainstorming. They can easily do it remotely from different places in the world. All they require is an internet connection.
Is it difficult to brainstorm?
It becomes quite easy to brainstorm new ideas if the brainstorming techniques are followed properly.