Brainstorming in a group can be a brilliant way to come up with new ideas. But brainstorming can often become an unstructured free-for-all. Here are some ways to make your next brainstorming session even more successful – by following a structure.
SWOT Analysis. Identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your current situation. The analysis can often reveal new ideas.
The Trigger Method. Brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Then take a break, select the best ones, and brainstorm those ideas as triggers for yet more ideas. Repeat until you find the best solution.
The Challenger. List all the assumptions in your situation and challenge them. For example, your goal is to brainstorm a list of ideas to get people to come to your new Ethiopian-themed restaurant. There are several assumptions you’ve already made. One: why should it be Ethiopian? Could a Somali theme be more attractive? Two: you’re assuming that it has to be a new restaurant. Perhaps there’s an existing Ethiopian restaurant that you could buy? Three: why should it be a restaurant at all? Could a home delivery service be more profitable? And so on.
The Flipper. This is a variation of the Challenger method. Look at each assumption behind the goal you are trying to achieve, then flip it around and look at your goal from that new angle. For example, you want to earn income from selling art. Your assumption may be ‘People buy art for themselves’. Flip the assumption around so it’s ‘People do not buy art for themselves’. Where might this lead? You may end up with people who buy art as gifts, as a company investment, and so on. Each of these groups could be a potential new market.
The Medici Effect is about how ideas in seemingly unrelated fields can sometimes intersect. When you put your goal alongside similar goals in different contexts, you can often identify parallel solutions. For example, if your goal is to increase sales of a chocolate bar, look at how companies selling different products achieved their success. From bananas to beachwear; from computers to cars, are there any commonalities that lie among all of them that you can apply to your situation? Are there ideas that you can adapt?
Brain Writing. Get a group of people and have them write their ideas on their own sheet of paper. After 10 minutes, rotate the sheets to different people and build off what the others wrote on their paper. Continue until everyone has written on everyone else’s sheet.
Variable Brainstorming. First, identify the variable in the outcome you look to achieve. For example, if your goal is to achieve X visitors to your website, the variable is # of visitors. Second, list down all the possibilities for that variable. Different variations of visitors are gender/age/race/nationality/occupation/interests/etc. Think about the question with each different variable. For example, for Genre: How can you get more females to your website? How can you get more males to your website? For age: How can you get more teenagers to your website? How can you get more adults to your website? And so on.
The Niche. This is the next level of variable brainstorming. From the variations of the variable you have listed, mix and match them in different ways and brainstorm against those niches. For example, how can you get more male teenagers to your website? (Gender & Age) How can you get more German female adults to your website? (Nationality, Gender & Age)
To brainstorm using a flipchart see the new Nobo Kapture flip chart and send your flipchart ideas straight to your PC or laptop.
Hope these help you to get some creative results.