The process of creation is different for everyone. Whether it is a blog post, a Twitter strategy, or your family’s grocery list – there’s no one “right” way to go about generating ideas. Most people know what brainstorming is. While the concept may be familiar, you can customize the way you brainstorm.
Some people work best in a group setting, where multiple individuals contribute to the process. Others prefer to work alone. If you haven’t given much thought to brainstorming techniques, consider the following eight methods.
1. Mind Mapping
Have you ever wanted to map out your thoughts in a way that connects the dots from one idea to the next? If so, you may benefit from using a mind-mapping program such as FreeMind. This open source program allows you to start with a central idea and branch out into areas. You can add hyperlinks, texts, images, or other useful data to better track your ideas. Additionally, you can branch off any area to create sub-ideas.
2. Edge Storming
Edge storming can help you find new ideas by pushing boundaries. Find out how far you can go, try to discover the worst possible scenario, think about the best possible situation, and explore other boundaries that limit your work. When you reach the edge, push farther. What else can you add or take away? Grasping the boundaries of what you’re considering helps to frame useful ideas somewhere inside those boundaries.
This technique combines role-playing with brainstorming. Play the role of a competitor and consider how you would handle the concept. Or, think about how a parent, a friend, or a client would view one of your ideas? If your product involves animals, consider how a pet might use it.
4. The H.G. Wells Method
Imagine you have a time machine and can go back or forward through time at will. What would people in different eras think of your product? How would you solve a problem that occurred in a different decade?
5. Alternative Options
What ideas can you find if you look at an alternative concept? This technique, sometimes called a blindfolded method, helps your team avoid obvious ideas. The idea is to brainstorm closely related ideas to better develop the main goal.
6. Think of the Solution
If you get too wrapped up thinking about the problem, you may never move past the issue. Try to think of the outcomes you want and then brainstorm ideas to make the solutions happen. Don’t just settle for one solution, think of several different ones.
7. Hot Potato
Just like the kid’s game, you can toss ideas back and forth. This can help keep one person from dominating the brainstorming session. You may even want to toss a beanbag around while you do this, just to add a bit of fun to the creative process.
To do this brainstorming technique, have everyone write an idea on a piece of paper. Collect the slips and then randomly pull one from the pile. Read the idea and have each person suggest an idea based on the slip.
When you need to create new ideas, don’t settle for one method of brainstorming. Instead, think about the different techniques you can use and see what new ideas you can generate. The best solution is dependent on the problem, so consider all of your options.
Okay, so who’s got #9…#10… what brainstorming techniques can we add to this list?