Sometimes brainstorming is quick, fun, and, easy, while other times it can be a long, boring, and an unproductive activity. If you find yourself and/ or your group in one of these situations follow any one of these eight brainstorming techniques:
Brainstorming Free Flow
For this technique simply allow yourself and/or your team members to write or speak freely without stopping or filtering for an extended amount of time.
Ask for what you’d like your team to ponder over and then let them go for it. Set a time limit for anywhere from a minute to ten minutes and have them write down everything they are thinking or have them talk nonstop about the topic while recording.
This will allow you to have everything documented and available for current or later use; keep in mind that sometimes people have ideas that may not seem useful now but may come in handy later on.
After introducing your new project, get a whiteboard and a pen and have people call out the first ideas that come into their minds. Don’t worry about quality, but focus on quantity. Write everything down right away to help you get a good look at what you’re dealing with.
If you or your team is having trouble with the brain dump, try playing the word association game with the new project.
The “What If” Situation
Try saying “What if (insert important person’s name here) were working on this project? What would they do?” Imagining the response of a respected business official, a successful celebrity, or even a greatly supported political figure might help you see other aspects of your project. This is a play on the figuring storming brain storming technique.
The Stepladder Technique
The stepladder technique allows everyone in the group to have their voice heard as well as letting other people’s ideas not be influenced by what other team members think.
For this technique have everyone in the room leave except for 2 members of the team. Have them both say their ideas and then discuss; then add another group member and have them share their idea before having an open discussion. Continue on this way until everyone in your team has returned back to the room and have shared their ideas and opinions.
Though time consuming, this brainstorming technique will give everyone a chance to flesh out their pitches without having outside opinions.
Brainstorming Hot Potato
Have your team gather together in a circular formation and bring out some sort of a talking stick or hot potato. Have everyone in the circle take a turn holding the walking stick and sharing one idea at a time.
Pass along the talking stick until everyone has been heard from.
During this creative Round Robin brainstorming technique, have someone record every idea that has been said and then discuss the different ideas. Once this has been completed, go around again with another round of ideas and critique again.
Repeat this game until you are satisfied with the results and remember to write down everything that was discussed.
It’s Time For Jeopardy
Using the Starbursting brainstorming technique pretend you and your team are on the game show, Jeopardy, where you must state your answers as questions. For this activity, you will use your new project or idea as the answer and have everyone ask questions about it.
These questions can help you understand what is possibly confusing, ineffective, or flawed about the new idea.
Using the teleport storming brainstorming technique, try brainstorming somewhere that isn’t your office. Have your team close their eyes and imagine that they are somewhere else. Then have them think about the new project while they are on their “vacation”.
Sometimes brainstorming, especially the more rapid techniques, can be stressful, so this technique allows you to relax your mind and body so that your ideas come organically.
Sometimes inspiration strikes outside of the conference room, but a lot of the time inspiration comes and goes so quickly you don’t even have time to recall it as you’re searching for some pen and paper to write it down. This brain storming technique is on the newer side and is a play on the Brain-netting technique.
Benefits of Brainstorming
Brainstorming has many benefits, the principal being:
- The more ideas you and your team generate, the more likely one of them will be effective.
In addition, brainstorming with your team also brings benefits such as:
- A closer team
- Increased communication skills
- More energy in the office, as many of these activities involve interaction and movement
- Boost in productivity, as you’ll be super-charged to work on your new ideas
- A break from routine – mixing up your day-to-day as you implement new projects keeps things exciting at the office
Brainstorming Tips for Teams
- Not everyone is an extrovert – be sure to utilize brainstorming techniques that allow introverts to shine as well. Make an extra effort to involve quieter members of the group. Everyone deserves an equal voice!
- Make it a safe space – while brainstorming, try not to disagree with others’ ideas. Brainstorming is a time to allow ideas to flow free, so be careful not to negate the ideas of others.
- Don’t worry about the details – work out details during the planning and implementation phase.
- Make it fun – According to this article from Big Speak, it is important to create a fun environment to increase creativity. As a result, you will get more out of your brainstorm sessions.
Implement these brainstorming techniques with your team the next time ideas are running dry. Keep an open mind (and an open mouth) while doing these exercises and watch your ideas flow!