Effective Brainstorming Techniques

Try these effective brainstorming techniques to help generate an endless flow of new ideas.

Effective Brainstorming Technique 1: Two-Split

Two-split allows you to analyse your problem and break it down into different components as you go along. These different components can be reassembled in creative new ways.

HOW TO:

  1. Define your challenge in two words.
  2. Split each word into two more words.
  3. Split each new part into two more parts.
  4. Continue splitting until you think you have covered enough ground.
  5. Analyse each new split for possible new ideas.
  6. Try regrouping different splits.
Effective brainstorming techniques to generate new ideas.

Effective Brainstorming Technique 2: Do The Opposite

A mother was preparing the Thanksgiving turkey one day, she sliced 5cm off the top of the turkey and 5cm off the bottom. Her daughter piped up with a simple question “Why do you cut off the top and bottom of the turkey?” she asked. “That’s what you do when you cook a turkey, like granny taught Me.” her mom replied. On her next visit she questioned granny, “Why do you cut off the top and bottom of the turkey?” she asked. “That’s exactly how my mom taught me to do it!” granny replied. She then directed the question at her great grandmother: “Why do you cut off the top and bottom of the turkey before you cook it?” “Because my oven pan is not big enough!”

Assumptions hinder our thinking and creativity in more ways than one. Challenging our assumptions can open up many wonderful discoveries. Learn to question and challenge everything especially things that are often taken for granted, by checking the validity. Reversing the obvious can make you see things differently.

HOW TO:

  1. State the challenge.
  2. List the assumptions.
  3. Challenge and investigate the assumptions.
  4. Do the opposite by reversing each assumption.
  5. Think about different ways to make each reversal happen.

Effective Brainstorming Technique 3: Changing Perspective

We can often solve an existing challenge by looking at it from another view point. Seeing it differently can open up new ways of thinking and spark ideas.

  • Male: Female
  • Young: Old
  • Business owner: Customer
  • Boss: Employee

HOW TO:

  1. Write out the existing challenge clearly as you see it.
  2. Change your perspective and rewrite it again.
  3. Repeat from another point of view.

Effective Brainstorming Technique 4: Attribute Chop

The more you can chop and identify the different attributes or characteristics of your existing challenge the more you will be able to improve or change different parts of it. Consider some of the following attributes to get you started. Listing different attributes and then regrouping and changing can inspire new ideas.
  • structure,
  • shape
  • colour
  • size
  • texture
  • sound
  • taste
  • smell
  • space
  • density
  • weight
  • height
  • price
  • marketing
  • manufacturing
  • selling
  • function
  • time
  • responsibilities
  • politics
  • cost to manufacture
  • wholesaling
  • retailing
  • environmental impact
  • uses
  • packaging
  • components
  • pattern
  • design
  • attachments
  • accessories
  • name
  • capacity
  • ease of use
  • market
  • feel
  • pack size
  • material
  • parts
  • supply
  • distribution
  • flavour
  • physical state
  • ingredients

HOW TO:

  1. State the challenge clearly.
  2. Analyse the challenge carefully and list as many attributes or characteristics you can.
  3. Brainstorm each individual characteristic and think up ways to change or improve it.

Effective Brainstorming Technique 5: Mind-mapping

Mind-maps are a colourful, visual form of brainstorming with a central idea at the core and many different branches and sub-branches connected to the main idea.

Mind-maps help free you from mental blocks they make you more creative but can also:

  • Help you solve problems
  • Save you time
  • Clarify your thinking
  • Help you plan
  • Help you communicate
  • Give you a different perspective on a situation
  • Help you remember
  • Help you become more organised

HOW TO:

  1. Take a blank piece of paper and turn it on its side.
  2. Draw an image in the centre of the page representing your main idea.
  3. Choose a colour and draw a curved branch out from your central image.
  4. Write a single word on each new branch relating to the main idea.
  5. Proceed to draw sub-branches from each new branch
  6. Draw pictures throughout to highlight and reinforce ideas as you go along.

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"A drop of ink may make a million think." -Lord Byron

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