How To Kickstart A Better Brainstorming Session

Get novel ideas with these creative brainstorming techniques.
Creative Brainstorming Techniques For Teams

Good ideas serve as a launchpad for innovation. But when a brainstorming session is a lengthy verbal discussion, some ideas may get buried. Use these three techniques to unearth interesting ideas with your team.

Visual Brainstorming

Doodling or sketching ideas can provide a fresh perspective for solving problems. Using visuals to communicate can boost how quickly we grasp ideas, as we intuitively process visuals better than words.

How To Make Toast
  • Draw How You Make Toast

    As simple as it sounds, drawing how toast is made is an effective exercise for teams. It enables them to flex their visual thinking skills, understand the overall flow of a process and see how different strategies can lead to the same solution. After completing the exercise, repeat it using a problem for your team to solve visually.

    Great for: Visual thinkers, collaborative problem-solving, processing complex problems
    Duration: 30-60 minutes, depending on your team size

Starbursting is writing down your Idea and drawing a six-pointed star around it which represents six questions for the idea.
  • Starbursting

    Once your team has chosen an idea, it’s time to get down to the specifics. On a whiteboard, write down your idea and draw a six-pointed star around it. The six points represent these six questions:

    • Who?
    • What?
    • Where
    • When?
    • Why
    • How

    For 15 minutes, have your team write down their responses on sticky notes and place them near the respective points of the star. This activity is great for the entire team to have an overall view of any unforeseen roadblocks while simultaneously considering other factors.

    Great for: Large teams, visual thinkers, fine-tuning an idea
    Duration: 15-30 minutes

Timed Brainstorming

Sometimes, brainstorming sessions can drag on as participants take time to think over their ideas. Introducing time restraints can help people come up with suggestions more efficiently, focusing on quantity rather than quality. By encouraging spontaneous thinking, reducing the urge for perfection, and creating an abundance of innovative ideas, good ideas are sure to be found.

  • Musical Chairs

    First, split into teams for different brainstorming prompts. Announce that they may start brainstorming when the music plays. When the music stops, they must move to the next table to tackle a new prompt. This game encourages members to share their ideas more openly as everyone is given the opportunity to do so.

    Great for: Large teams, introverts
    Duration: 30-60 minutes

Crazy 8's is a challenge where each person sketches out eight ideas on a sheet of paper in eight minutes.
  • Crazy 8's

    This is a fast-paced challenge where each person sketches out eight ideas on a sheet of paper (divided into eighths) in eight minutes.

    After eight minutes, have everyone vote on the best idea. This motivates them to go beyond the initial surface thoughts and produce more innovative ideas by thinking out of the box.

    Great for: Improving user experience, quick brainstorms
    Duration: 10-15 minutes

Collaborative storytelling is an activity that relies on spontaneous thinking to build up an idea as a team
  • Collaborative Storytelling

    Starting off with a “we could” scenario, have one member suggest a word related to the topic. The next person then suggests a word that begins with the last letter of the previously suggested word. Within 10 seconds, each member follows suit and chips in with their own word to build on the idea. Do this activity several times until your team finds an interesting and viable idea to work on.

    As this activity relies on spontaneous thinking to build up an idea as a team, it is a quick and fun method to churn out novel ideas.

    Great for: Small teams, quick brainstorms
    Duration: 10-15 minutes

Silent Brainstorming

Verbal brainstorming sessions are largely driven by people who speak up and share their ideas first. As such, not all ideas may be heard and considered. Brainstorming silently levels the playing field and ensures everyone has an opportunity to pitch in their suggestions.

Brainwriting Method wherein a group of six each person pens down three ideas in five minutes in complete silence.
  • The 6-3-5 Brainwriting Method

    In a group of six with six sheets of paper, each person pens down three ideas in five minutes in complete silence. By eliminating the need for verbal discussions where a few ideas tend to dominate, more ideas can be surfaced.

    When the time is up, each sheet of paper is passed to the person on the right. They are free to build on previous ideas or contribute new ones. After six rounds, the team would have successfully clocked 108 ideas in 30 minutes. Brainwriting presents an opportunity for all voices to be heard.

    Great for: Cross-disciplinary teams, introverts
    Duration: 30-35 minutes

  • Silent Circuit

    Jot down problem statements on sticky notes and place them at various spots in a room. Then, for 20 minutes, everyone silently walks around the room, writing down their individual responses on sticky notes and placing them below the respective problem.

    This activity is done in a large group, and ensures everyone is engaged in contributing their ideas. Time is also given to those who need to process and think in silence.

    Great for: Large teams, introverts
    Duration: 20-30 minutes

Like diamonds in the rough, the best ideas emerge when people collaborate to crank out new ideas and refine them until they truly shine.

    Jan 3, 2023
    Lei Ng
    Lei Ng
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