Brainstorming : 19 techniques and 4 exercises to boost creativity

Situations or problems that require ideas are always just around the corner, but fortunately there are brainstorming sessions , which  in addition to helping you get ideas, make the participants have a little fun .

So, if you are interested in generating brainstorming sessions, this content will be of great help to you. We have included 17 techniques and 4 exercises to boost creativity.

Using and incorporating this element into the work routine can mean great benefits for your work team.

That being said,  brainstorming will help you , among other things, to generate a favorable work environment to develop and make your collaborators focus on the work that matters most.

Before we continue, let’s review the definition.

What is a brainstorming or brainstorming?

When talking about the concept of brainstorming or brainstorming , reference is made to a practical didactic process through which one seeks to encourage mental creativity around a specific topic.

Yes, as its name indicates, brainstorming reveals a process where quick and spontaneous thinking is sought to pour out the ideas of each of the participants and relate them to a previously defined topic.

Every day it is more common for work spaces to incorporate notions of collaborative and creative processes to reinforce teamwork.

The notion of brainstorming encapsulates in its being several key points to encourage participation in work spaces, helps to democratize information and broadens communication between collaborators.

As the old saying goes: Two heads are better than one.

What is brainstorming used for?

Imagine the potential of your collaborators working in unison: they would be unstoppable.

Solving a problem through creative strategies such as brainstorming  will not only be reflected in an improvement of your internal processes, but will also contribute to generating a holistic vision of a particular issue.

By involving different areas in solving a problem (through a creative process such as the one suggested by brainstorming ) it will be possible to provide a solution that covers a large number of segments.

The contribution of all the areas will generate a result that will encompass the greatest possible number of points of view, thus strengthening the proposal.

This process, less structured and rigid than other didactic tools, makes it possible to generate solutions applicable to the company’s processes or results.

For example, maybe you want to improve the billing process of a retail company .

Although it is essential to listen to the feedback from the area in question, it is equally important to attend to the needs or points of view of both the sellers, the carrier and the management of the company.

Generating a brainstorm with a representative of each one can reveal processes, needs or actions that were not contemplated and incorporate them into the plan”.

How to start the brainstorming session

To get started, you will need the following:

  • set the rules
  • Know the problem you want to solve
  • Locate the best space for the dynamics
  • Choose the participants
  • set the rules
  • Let your creativity out

Although brainstorming incorporates different techniques to achieve its objectives, it is common for said didactic exercise to present some barriers or limitations that can become a problem if they are not adequately resolved.

Techniques for brainstorming

It may seem curious that to develop a didactic resource attached to creativity, such as brainstorming , tactics or strategies are used that help encourage participation or energize the structure of the exercise.

Everything has an end, in this case, it is no different.

Depending on the objectives that you have set before starting the dynamic, the following resources can help you reach them.

As unbelievable as it may seem, thousands of employees can face huge barriers when expressing themselves through the  brainstorming exercise.

Here lies the importance of knowing your team (its strengths, virtues and weaknesses) and bringing the best solutions to promote the correct development of the dynamics.

Yeah! It is totally valid to modify or specialize the didactic exercises based on the conformation of the group of collaborators that will participate.

Contrary to what one might assume, this can represent the success or failure of the dynamic.

A flexible brainstorming works better than a totally static exercise where participants seem to be bound by the noose of formality.

1. Set goals

Of course, this step is essential.

Before you start brainstorming , establish what the objectives of the game will be . Try to choose measurable goals, this will make things easier for you when you start to see your results.

For example, if your company is dedicated to the manufacture of clothing, you can support your objectives towards the generation of new ideas to make a dress.

The next step in brainstorming  would be to define them, these could be: finding three new trends in dresses, making two sketches for a new brand, or even establishing the bases for the following designs.

The limit is defined by you; At the end of the day, no one knows your company or your goals better.

List them, analyze them and choose the ones that work best to contribute to the success of the company.

2. Define your time limit

Everything in life has a beginning and an end.

It is important to stress the role of time in brainstorming.

Defining a term of action is a key point for the success of the dynamic.

First, it will help you narrow down the participation of each of the members.

Secondly, it will provide you with an excellent reference of the action framework to take into account the period of participation by the number of collaborators.

If your activity demands it, you can establish a schedule of activities that helps you meet the objectives in brainstorming.

Calculate the participation time for each of the collaborators, the interruptions, the number of topics to be discussed, the spaces for collective participation and other factors that may alter the development of the dynamics and put them in a table to take them into account during development. of the dynamics.

Once the different aspects of your schedule are defined, the most important part comes: stick to it and comply with the established parameters.

On many occasions, hours are lost defining and stipulating every second of the brainstorming dynamic, but it is useless if these times are not respected.

Although there may be variations or slight adjustments to the schedule, it is important to maintain or seek the greatest possible adherence to the scheduled calendar.

3. Define your group

Choosing the right group of collaborators to take part in a dynamic, such as brainstorming , is one of the most important factors in making your creativity exercises a success.

It’s okay to want the entire organization to participate, but it’s not always possible.

The objectives of the sessions will be the ones that will help you define the profiles of collaborators you need.

In other words, if brainstorming seeks new solutions for the communication area, it will be necessary for those involved to have knowledge regarding the area’s requirements, so that they can actively participate in the exercise.

Another example is if the human resources area is looking for new ways to generate talent attraction: it is essential to have several points of view to take advantage of everyone’s experience in favor of a goal.

Thus, your group could be composed based on the qualities that each of the selected collaborators brings to the table.

A communication manager will provide ideas to better convey the message.

Someone from the accounting area will be able to help integrate the best steps for the hiring process.

Some people in the human resources department will be able to establish the characteristics to attract the best candidates.

On many occasions, the correct selection of the work group is what can ensure the success or failure of the dynamic. Refine and select.

4. Choose a moderator

Although brainstorming is an exercise that allows extensive participation by collaborators, it is equally important to have a leader who serves as a guide for the dynamics.

This figure of moderator will help direct the  brainstorming dynamics towards tangible results .

Their role is not just to regulate participation; In addition, he is in charge of guiding the participants and selecting the best proposals to incorporate them into the plan.

The moderator role also represents a turning point in the development of brainstorming .

The correct development of its functions can solve, to a large extent, the difficulties or problems that arise throughout the dynamics.

The moderator must be aware of the challenges that arise in brainstorming , as well as its objectives.

It is important that you know in depth the different activities that each of the participants develops and how they can contribute to the exercise.

5. Reverse Brainstorming

Reversing the roles is an excellent idea to bring out all the creative side of your collaborators.

Participants are usually asked to brainstorm to solve a problem or provide solutions regarding a specific issue.

Although these exercises have great power to analyze the problem, they can also be used to detect it.

Now, if you want to create a situation within the company, one of the best tools at your disposal is reverse brainstorming .

In these sessions, collaborators are asked to focus on a case and come up with extraordinary ways to cause a problem.

Relax, it does not mean that your company is going to be filled with worries.

On the contrary, causing a problem is the beginning to anticipate the actions that will solve it.

The reverse brainstorming strategy is an excellent way to activate your collaborators to face future situations or prepare for the challenges that the labor market always presents.

The gestation of a problem as part of your strategy will show you the way in which your collaborators react to a challenge and the different approaches that each area has regarding a particular point.

With this reverse brainstorming technique,  you will be able to design or redefine a certain strategy and prepare your collaborators to face future challenges.

6. Mind map

If what you want is to improve your brainstorming process , you can use mind maps to visually represent the processes and ideas that arise from the dynamics.

Basically, all you have to do is draw images that help you relate the ideas to each other.

To start you can write your objective or the problem to be solved.

Make it clear and in a place that is easily accessible to the participants, in case someone forgets what the question is that they are trying to solve.

They really only need a large piece of paper and different colored markers or markers to bring to life the ideas participants  brainstorm .

A clue… due to the popularization of these resources, you can now find different online tools that will help you create various mind maps.

Although this article encourages the use of creative resources, it is also worth being practical when the occasion calls for it.

The options are yours, so choose the one that best suits your company.

7. SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis methodology can bring hundreds of benefits to your organization. This method will help you to know the strengths that your collaborators see within the company.

SWOT stands for:

Strengths : Identify the strengths of your work team, as well as of each area that makes up the organization.

Weaknesses : Know the weak points of your structure and how to shore up the foundations of the company to turn its weaknesses into new strengths.

O pportunities: Be aware of the window of opportunities that a situation represents and incorporate as part of the solutions to problems.

T hreats: Do not ignore the threats that may exist around your company. Your collaborators can be the main detectors of these situations, consult them and learn what they have to say.

Carrying out a SWOT analysis, as part of a brainstorming dynamic , will give you the possibility of knowing what each of the participants thinks regarding the processes, the organization and the activities that the company carries out.

Take into account that this analysis can be specialized depending on the area or problem in question.

8. Play “What if…”

If what you want is to solve a problem through brainstorming , this is one of the best resources that you can use to invigorate the exercise and ensure better results.

How about we play?

As you can see, this technique is nothing more than looking for solutions to different scenarios. To put it in one way, it is putting on the shoes of a different situation.

In addition, it is especially useful if your team is stuck at some point in the  brainstorming process.

With your app, you make sure to provide an opportunity to rethink a scenario to let the best ideas flow.

Many times, after spending some time thinking or imagining the solutions to a problem, both you and your collaborators may fall into a lack of creativity.

To provide a solution to these moments and throw a rope to get your team forward, it is important to incorporate elements that encourage approach from a different angle.

It is not only a technique; In reality, it is about posing a challenge that will help you solve a creative or ideas block.

Challenging can help bring out the best in your collaborators, and why not? Of you.

9. Saying “no” is necessary

Surely a similar situation happened to you once: you were in a work meeting to contribute ideas to the new plan and, suddenly, one of your colleagues had the worst possible idea in the world.

Everyone in the office looked at each other and thought, “God, what a terrible idea.”

Despite this situation, would it surprise you that these actions represent an excellent opportunity to achieve a creative solution?

First of all, it is worth saying that having bad ideas is normal and, sometimes, necessary.

At the end of the day, how to identify the good ideas if not in opposition to the bad ones?

The important thing is not that you identify who is contributing these ideas; what is really valuable is knowing how to take advantage of the output they represent.

Thus, what is really useful is to value them and learn why they are not a good solution and say no.

You’ll need to start making it clear when an idea just doesn’t work.

This streamlining will give you the ability to save time in the process and identify the most difficult parts of the problem.

10. Create obstacles

Have you heard of Spartan Race? If you haven’t done it, I’ll tell you quickly: it’s an obstacle course that tests and pushes the physical abilities of the participants to the extreme.

This form of competition has become extremely popular in recent years.

Like these competitions, placing obstacles in a creativity dynamic is a great way to make sure that everyone gives their best.

Contrary to what many might think, this technique does not make your brainstorming session tedious or less productive .

On the contrary, it helps encourage creative ideas and invites participants to seek different approaches to the problem.

How can you do it?


For example, if the purpose of your brainstorming is to create a new communication strategy for a new product, one of the obstacles that you could pose is that one or several words cannot be mentioned.

You can also limit the brand’s color palette or limit the elements that can make up the logo.

Each of the obstacles that you incorporate will bring you closer to having a unique and specific result in this new way of approaching brainstorming  .

11. Use didactic materials

Not all brainstorming has to happen the same way.

Incorporating didactic resources into your session will help you maintain and focus the attention of your collaborators.

You can use whatever resource you consider necessary. Seek to generate visual impact, bring elements that awaken creativity in your collaborators (books, paper, colors, photographs); any item is good.

Use of educational resources for brainstorming  is a clear sign that the ultimate goal of the session is to awaken the creative side of each of the participants.

12. The game of chairs

Sure we all played it when we were kids.

The participants move to the rhythm of the music around a number of chairs (always one less than the number of participants) and, when the music stops, they must run quickly to secure their place and continue in the game.

This children’s game can be incorporated, with some variations, as part of a brainstorm.

The dynamic is as follows: each of the participants takes a piece of paper and a pen.

At the center is a topic or problem to be solved; a specific time of time is determined, you can do it by selecting a song per participant; the time of the song will be the one that the participants have to write down their solution.

At the end, the sheets are read aloud and, democratically, the participants choose the best ones; the one that is last, will leave the game and the dynamics will continue during the brainstorming  with the remaining participants.

13. Empathy

One of the most important resources for your brainstorming to be a complete success is to generate empathy between the collaborators and the problem.

If no one is interested in resolving the issue, what solutions will they provide?

14. One on One

Encourages the orderly participation of each collaborator during the  brainstorming.

There is nothing worse than getting lost in a sea of ​​proposals that have no beginning or end.

Generating an order of participation is important to ensure the correct progress of the dynamics.

Make it clear what the order of participation will be and stick to your plan.

If someone suddenly wants to participate during the brainstorming,  don’t deny them the opportunity; be sure to provide spaces for collective participation, in addition to individual spaces.

15. RPG

If a topic represents a big complication, one of the possible solutions may be to assign a role to each participant in the  brainstorm.

Thus, you ensure that you get different results and opinions from the function definition.

Likewise, this is an excellent way to generate different perspectives regarding a problem and pour them into a totalizing solution that includes different sides of the situation.

16. Anonymous proposals

If you think that your brainstorming is not having the success you want because the participants do not want to share their ideas, the solution is very easy: participate anonymously.

Some of the best ideas happen when others don’t know it was you who came up with it.

To achieve this, you can have each participant write their idea on a blank piece of paper and leave it inside a box (not transparent).

Later, once the  brainstorming dynamics has concluded , they will only have to read each of the proposals and choose the best one.

Maybe no one will ever know who proposed it, but you will have a solution thanks to this exercise.

17. Rain of Questions

The best answers come from asking the right questions.

This maxim makes it clear that it is not only important to seek solutions; sometimes true wealth comes from asking the right question.

A brainstorm  is a return to the classic brainstorm.

Through the doubts of the participants, a great solution can be reached.

18. Warm up

Your coach already told you: exercising without a prior warm-up can have serious health consequences.

In this case it is the same: the health of the brainstorm can be affected if nobody is prepared.

Warming up means, in this case, doing a practice round of what the brainstorming  will look like to make sure everyone is aligned and ready for the moment that matters most.

You can choose a simple theme or leave a free theme so that you can choose the one that generates the most comfort.

19. Appreciate the good

Not all ideas are going to change the world, that’s a fact.

That’s not to say they don’t have something valuable to offer.

Value the contributions of each of the participants and look for the strong points in their opinions.

Encouraging your team is the best way you can give them the confidence to continue to participate and be closed to different responses.

We all make mistakes, but there is no greater mistake than detracting from the opinions of others.

4 exercises to generate a brainstorming session

Now that you have a clearer picture of how to start your brainstorming , I recommend incorporating some of these exercises to make the activity more dynamic.

– scribble

Many times it is difficult for inspiration to reach our head. Give a boost to creativity through elements that help release all ideas.

Doodling may not seem like the best solution, but helping to distract the mind is an excellent option to let the proposals flow in the brainstorm.

Be sure to leave sheets of paper and colors in the center of the table and do not stipulate a precise time or moment; let your collaborators choose the moment they need to interact with the elements.

– Enough!

A great technique for getting suggestions flowing during brainstorming  is to play.

Have you ever heard of the basta game? The idea is that the participants compete to solve a series of concepts in a limited time.

This exercise will help you to specify the items that you really want to address during the brainstorming  (you must define them beforehand) and guide the participants towards their solution.

Set a time limit and start the challenge.

Of course, the first to finish must shout “enough” so that everyone else stops.

Working under this type of pressure can open a gap in generating new opportunities or approaches to the subject.

– Russian roulette

First of all, make sure that the weapon is not loaded.

Ok, we better avoid the use of any type of weaponry.

Playing Russian roulette doesn’t have to be a deadly act in the brainstorming version.

To incorporate this exercise into your brainstorming, you must give each participant a short period of time to give their idea, and the one that is furthest from the objective or does not incorporate the previously indicated elements will leave the game.

This method of discarding will ensure that you refine the idea until you have a solid proposal that incorporates different elements and collects part of the proposals that everyone has expressed in the exercise.

– Ladder

Generating a ladder of ideas is one of the most efficient ways to define a great proposal from various ideas.

You can start with a small step, the core of the idea or the bases of the exercise and go up to outline a complete strategy.

You define the scope or depth that you want to achieve, but do not forget that each step must add elements to specialize the idea.

Now you are ready to unleash creativity in your team and find new and fresh solutions for the areas of opportunity that you have.

Put into practice what you have learned here and tell us the results.

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