Visual brainstorming


Visual brainstorming: procedure steps and variations

Visual brainstorming technique is a graphic ideation, when group members sketch solutions to a problem. The sketches are used as a springboard for more solutions. Visual brainstorming is about collaboratively generating ideas without using the spoken or written word.
It is need a little imagination and the ability to visualise problems.  Everyone can focus on ideas building and no one needs to wait for someone else to speak.

Procedure Steps

1. Idea Generation. Set a high target for participants:  to generate 20-30 basic idea-sketches on a specific problem in 1hr.
Then private sketches are  pooled and analyzed.
2. Evaluation Phase. Present your idea-sketches, trying to observe them with as much imagination as possible.  Think of yourself as a critic, so looking at them from another perspective.
3. Rotate the sketches, place images on images, cover top of bottom half, these varying tactics may inspire yet another idea.
4. Comparison. Clustering all the sketches together, place complex ones with simplistic ones, make comparisons.
5. Log all the ideas that come to mind throughout the session, using different coloured pens to denote initial ideas, continuing ideas and then final more paramount ideas.

Variation 1

The team  build a model of the current process and modify it to improve efficiency. The brainstormers can modify the existing model to improve it – or start from scratch and build a better system.
1. Participants use arts and crafts materials such as coloured construction paper, tape, string, card, pens, toy cars, wire, yarn to represent connections. Dolls and action figures to represent people.  can be useful as well as encourage creative thinking.
2. Children’s construction toys such as building blocks, Lego can be used to create representations of divisions, communications methods and the strength of communications.

Variation 2

Role-play is one of probably way of visual brainstorming. This approach is verbal, but focuses uses movement, gesture and nonverbal cues. Group members create improvisational role plays.
Example. Have the brainstormers break up into teams, where one team represents target customers. The other represents the company. Design a number of improvisational role plays where the customers interact with the company. Discuss the results, how they can be improved and role play again.


When traditional thinking has become stale or dried up, visual brainstorming using graphic ideation may be a useful alternative
1. Unlike in a verbal brainstorming event where quiet people hide behind the noise, in a visual brainstorming event, it is obvious who is participating and who is not.
2. There is far less squelching in visual brainstorming. It is fun and provides a high level of personal concentration.
3. Quick, impulsive ideas put into sketch can help to avoid undeveloped ‘lost’ ideas.
4. Rapid response to an idea with an immediate sketch creates momentum, preventing any critical thought processes to intervene.


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