Alternative Methods of Brainstorming

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

The following are some of the alternative methods that many organisations use in their brainstorming sessions. Not every method will be right for every group and it may take some experimenting to see which ones to incorporate and which ones to leave behind.


Mind Maps

Mind maps are often used in conjunction with standard brainstorming activities but not always. A mind map gives you a way of organising thoughts and ideas as a series of bubbles or nodes. Each node is considered an idea and if the node is connected to another node than it is related to that node in some way. Many people feel that using mind maps works because it is the method our brain uses. There are people that are not comfortable with their use and it will not serve them very well if this is the case.


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Brain Writing

One disadvantage of standard brainstorming techniques is a few of the members tend to monopolise the conversation. This stifles the ideas of the rest and it leaves the team with less than optimal ideas. One way around this is to have each member of the group write down their thoughts and ideas before even arriving at the meeting. After, each member then writes down the ideas on a common area like a whiteboard or something like it. The group discusses the ideas at length. This gives all members an opportunity to have their ideas count and prevents or reduces the stronger personalities from dominating the process. There will be common ideas with this approach but these can be combined and duplicates removed.

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There is a variation on this concept of brain writing, more in implementation rather than form. Team members gather in a circle (after individually writing down all ideas) and read aloud one idea in a round robin fashion. The team discusses each idea as they are read. This can generate other ideas as well as questions. All of these conversations should be recorded. This session can also be used to remove the weaker ideas or ones that don’t seem to fit the objectives.


Projection

This actually takes on various forms and include such concepts as time travel, teleportation, important figures, etc. Each are a form of role playing and essentially you are transforming yourself into someone else with the objective being what you would do if you were in a particular person’s position.


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It could be a person 100 years ago, or it could be a famous person.


There are many other forms of brainstorming which serves to add to the confusion. It may be wise to start with a traditional form and with practice, incorporate others into the mix and see how effective this is for the objectives of the group.


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