Brainstorming has always been an important part of everyone’s lives. When done using a couple of methods, it can inspire everyone’s creative thinking in order to come up with innovative ideas. But how can you make your brainstorming session more effective and productive? These brainstorming techniques can change the way you do your group brainstorming. But first, let’s determine what brainstorming is and why is it important.
What is Brainstorming?
Brainstorming is an approach to solving a problem with lateral thinking. It works by the people involved in the session to come up with thoughts that can help solve the problem and share it with everyone to create a whole and solid idea.
During brainstorming, it is important for the people involved to be thinking out of the box to be open to many possibilities. Further exploring solutions through conventional approaches to create the best idea fit for the problem.
Why Is It Important to Brainstorm?
Brainstorming opens up many ideas and possibilities. It provides an environment that encourages people to think and participate. It’s better to have many minds when trying to create something great as it is in this process where quirky ideas and even the simplest rationales are welcome as these all can contribute to the process of developing a unique and rich array of creative solutions.
Brainstorming increases the richness of ideas being explored by bringing the diverse experiences of the people involved to the table. Aside from this, it is a fun moment for a team as it allows them to bond and strengthens their relationship.
However, an effective approach should be observed when brainstorming. If this is not done, you might end up having no great ideas and a divided team.
12 Brainstorming Techniques that Work
The goal of brainstorming is to encourage collaboration and create an ideal solution to a problem. To help you achieve this, let’s dive into 12 effective brainstorming techniques that can help get the ideas flowing and obtain great results:
This is a non-verbal brainstorming technique where people involved will be given a few minutes to write down their top 3 ideas about the topic. Then, everyone will pass their ideas to the person next to them, either left or right, to add some points to each solution written. And so on until it circles back to the owner. When everyone has given their thoughts about each and others’ ideas, the group will then discuss which are the best options to pursue.
The benefit of this method is for the people who are not confident enough to speak to a larger group. Sometimes, there are more and better ideas that can come out when we think individually without distractions and public opinion.
2. Brain Netting
In the modern workspace where more and more people are starting to work remotely, this one of the brainstorming techniques has become more popular. Brain netting is basically another term for online brainstorming. Fortunately, virtual teams today have many options to use when they need to collaborate. Some creative ways to do it are through online chat, video conference, and calls with the use of online tools and software available such as the following:
- Google Meet
- Skype; and many more.
These platforms help virtual teams collaborate in real-time. To help you even more in your online brainstorming, you can also save files in cloud-based storage such as Google Drive and Dropbox.
3. Rapid Ideation
Here, the team will be given a time limit to write down all the ideas they have. It can be on a piece of paper or an e-doc, depending on your preference. After that, you can deal with the ideas through two options: first is for the whole team to discuss each solution and pick the best one with still time limit in mind, second is for a dedicated person like a leader or a manager to decide and choose one.
This approach is effective in terms of maximizing the team’s productivity and results. It can also be great for the type of worker who doesn’t like meetings that much.
4. Round-robin Brainstorming
This brainstorming technique encourages everyone to speak about the topic. It goes by having each member of the team contribute their best thought one by one. Avoid criticism and judgment during this stage and give everyone their fair share of attention and time to speak. Once all of the members are done, it’s time for you to discuss and critique each idea.
This method is much more effective when you are sitting all together in one place forming a circle. If you need a meeting place to do this, ARCH Offices has fully equipped and well-designed meeting rooms that can accommodate your team.
5. Figure Storming
In this brainstorming method, you will impersonate someone that everyone knows but is not in the meeting room. It could be your boss, a historical figure, a celebrity, your country’s leader, a public figure, and many more. Once you’re done choosing, you will then discuss how you think that person would deal with the matter if they are in your shoes like role-playing.
This technique helps you deal with the topic from a different point of view. It will also encourage each member of the team to not limit their ideas as there are cases when people are less hesitant to share their ideas when someone’s name is attached to the discussion.
6. Eidetic Image Method
This strategy begins with setting your intention. Ask the team to close their eyes and picture their idea about your topic; a laptop, for instance. Have them imagine the next-generation laptop that they have always dreamed of. Once they have it in mind, ask questions about it such as its features like color, shape, size, and many more. After that, ask them about the features that they wish that laptops today have in them such as a better camera and a more solid screen. This will also give you an idea about what the users want. Pile up these points and develop your next version of the product according to it.
Take note that this one of the brainstorming techniques is more ideal in enhancing a thing rather than inventing. Also, some ideas may be far from being possible. Stick to what you think is possible for you to create.
7. Step-ladder Technique
There are instances when the idea of a person gets influenced by the thoughts that are initially shared by others. The step-ladder technique helps avoid being bias to ideas. It works by telling everyone the topic then most of the team will go out of the room to think, leaving only two members to discuss and share each of their thoughts.
After discussing, they will allow the third person to enter and tell something about the topic. The three will discuss it first before the first two persons share their ideas with the third person. The process will go on to the last member of the group. After that, they will then criticize each idea and pick the best one to flourish and use.
This method isn’t ideal for big groups as it is complex and time-consuming, but it is great for smaller groups to discuss the ideas well one by one.
8. Mind Mapping
There are times when the initial thoughts shared by a team member aren’t the best one for the topic, but can give birth to better ideas. And this is where mind mapping comes in. Mind mapping is basically a visual brainstorming technique.
In this approach, a leader will draw a map, having the topic at the center and drawing lines connecting each of the members’ ideas. When sub-ideas are created, he will then make additional lines until the team comes up with the thought that will best fit the solutions to the topic.
Here, you’re like a news reporter trying to figure out a whole story. Draw a 6-point star and write the topic at the center of the shape. Label each point of the star with the 5WH questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how.
Now, develop a series of questions about your idea based on the 5WH questions. For example, “Who is involved?” or “When is the ideal time to do it?” Place these questions according to the position of the 5WH questions.
This is an effective brainstorming strategy because of its exploratory nature. It creates more and more questions that bring you to the solid solution you need.
10. Gap Filling
This one of the brainstorming techniques requires you to identify your current state as well as your end goal. Once you have determined these, the next step would be to fill the gap between the two. The ultimate question here is “How can we get from our current state to our end goal.” The team needs to find workable solutions to this question by sharing thoughts. Collect all the ideas and organize them according to the process. This will help you come up with the best course of action for the topic.
11. Reverse Brainstorming
If the basic brainstorming requires the team to solve a problem, reverse brainstorming does it the other way around. Here, the team will have to list all the possible problems and the cause of the problem about the topic. Once you have identified these, you are now ready to find the solution to the problem as you are already aware of the cause that might occur in the current and future strategy. Moreover, having a different way to solve the problem allows people to be more creative and efficient.
12. Change of Meeting Place
The workplace can sometimes affect how we think and work. It can inspire us to do something great, it can also make us feel unmotivated. A change of scenery can help keep the team excited and motivated. A new meeting place can help keep the focus and the ideas flowing, especially if it’s something distinctive. This technique for brainstorming can make them think out of the box and devise unique ideas for a great solution.
Brainstorming has always been a part of the process of creating something great. The brainstorming techniques above are just some of the strategies you can use to have a productive session with your team. You can choose one or combine some of these, depending on which you think are best for your team to let those ideas flow and have a better team collaboration.
A Place for More Effective Brainstorming Sessions
If you are looking for a well-designed meeting place where your team can brainstorm efficiently, check out ARCH Serviced Offices. We have fully-equipped meeting rooms with modern designs that can help increase your team’s productivity and motivation. To know more about our services, get in touch with us today.
Leslie is a passionate writer who creates highly engaging content to help promote businesses. When she isn’t working, you will find her playing the guitar or watching great films with her family.