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Top 9 Brainstorming Techniques to Spark a Flurry of Ideas


[This blog post is a small excerpt from our stellar ebook: The Creative Spark - Habits & Tricks to Maximize Creativity]


Brainstorming is a cornerstone of creative thinking. It's about generating a vast quantity of ideas, without judgment or censorship. The key is to break free from conventional thinking and explore all possibilities, no matter how outlandish they may seem at first. Here are some effective brainstorming techniques:

 

1. Brainwriting:

This method allows for anonymous participation, perfect for groups where shyness might hinder contributions. Participants write down their ideas on pieces of paper, which are then folded and passed on to the next person who adds their own thoughts based on what they read. This iterative process can lead to unexpected connections and spark innovative ideas.

 

2. Mind Mapping: 

This visual thinking tool allows you to organize your thoughts and ideas in a non-linear way. Start with a central theme in the middle of the page and branch out with connected ideas, keywords, and associations. Mind maps are a great way to explore complex topics, identify relationships between concepts, and generate new avenues for exploration.

 

3. SCAMPER:

This acronym stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to Other Uses, Eliminate, and Rearrange. It's a structured brainstorming technique that pushes you to think about existing ideas or products in new ways. For example, if you're trying to find a new use for a coffee mug, you might consider "combining" it with a travel speaker to create an all-in-one mug and speaker for on-the-go music enjoyment.

 

4. Word Matching: 

On small pieces of paper write single words or descriptors that are relevant to your project. Shuffle them all together and pick two or three and combine them for a unique result.

 

5. “Extreming”:

What would happen if a certain feature of your project was pushed to its absolute extreme? Consider size, performance, color, numbers, feeling, taste, conclusions, whatever. How would that affect things, and what other alternative or interesting ideas does that generate?

 

6. AI Tools: 

Access to AI chat bots and their capabilities are becoming much more prevalent. Simply find your favorite one and ask it to come up with new ideas regarding your project. You can also spice up their responses with unique prompt words and thoughts that may or may not relate.

 

7. Reframing the Problem: 

Instead of focusing on the limitations or obstacles, try reframing the problem as a question. This shift in perspective can open new avenues for exploration. For example, instead of thinking, "How can I make this presentation more engaging?" reframe it as, "What creative ways can I share this information to truly capture my audience's attention?"

 

8. Reverse Brainstorming: 

Flip the script and intentionally brainstorm all the ways your idea could fail. By identifying potential pitfalls, you can proactively address them and strengthen your solution.

 

9. Role-Playing:

Step into the shoes of someone else who might be affected by the problem you're trying to solve. How would they perceive the issue? What are their needs and challenges? This exercise can foster empathy and lead to solutions that are more user-centric.

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