We’ve all been there: you’re staring at a blank computer screen, a piece of paper or whiteboard, and your creative juices just aren’t flowing – you can’t think of one solid idea. It’s brainstorming techniques that come to the rescue and save you from that dreadful writer’s block. There are countless ways to inspire creative thinking. For a little inspiration, we’ve collected seven unique brainstorming techniques for generating awesome ideas.
1. The Pizza Rule
Did someone say ‘pizza’? The number of people in the room might have everything to do with creating awesome ideas. The “pizza rule” suggests that if you have more people in the room that you could feed with a pizza, you might have too many people in the room to hold a productive meeting. If there’s a lot of people in the room, and only a list of ordinary ideas, try splitting off into smaller groups.
2. Word Storm
Whether you use these brainstorming techniques for writing creative content or for coming up with fun ideas for an upcoming event, word storming always does the trick. All you need is yourself, a marker and a whiteboard. Start with a simple word or two based around your project, and then write down any word that comes to mind. Then, group the words together according to how they are related to each. This brainstorming technique will help get the ideas flowing.
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3. Fill the Gap
On one side of a whiteboard, write down where you (or your group, company, etc.) are. On the other side of the whiteboard, write down where you’d like to be. How can you fill the gap? Seeing a visual representation of where you are, and where you’d like to be might help you come up ideas on how to fill that gap. Your group will have a wide variety of answers; collect them all, and decide which ones will help you reach your goal.
4. The Five Whys
One of our favorite brainstorming techniques is the Five Whys. This technique can be super effective for getting your thought process moving. Start with a problem your group is addressing and ask “why is this happening?” Brainstorm together as a group, and once you come up with some answers, ask “why does this happen?” After each answer, keep asking “why?” Keep digging until you come up with the answers you were looking for.
No, not like the delicious candy. Get your team together, and on a whiteboard, draw a six-pointed star. At the center of the star, write down a specific challenge or opportunity your group is facing. At each point of the star, write down: who, what, where, when, why and how. Use these words to generate questions, such as “who’s our most loyal client?” “what do our clients/customers want?” “how can we make our clients happier?” Use these questions to brainstorm and generate creative discussions.
6. Collaborative Brainstorming
Write a question or concern on a whiteboard that’s in a place in the office that everyone sees, daily. Ask your team members to jot down their ideas over the course of the week. Have them go off other team members’ ideas, or come up with new ideas on their own. At the end of the week, look at the long list of collected ideas and choose your favorites.
7. Pros and Cons
It’s a tale as old as time, but this is one of the brainstorming techniques that never fails. You probably use pros and cons to make decisions in your everyday life. But by writing down your pros and cons in a structured manner with a few rules, you can make this simple trick into an effective brainstorming technique. Be careful not to cheat, and purposely add to the side of the list that you want it to go.