Creativity techniques: Brainstorming

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Brainstorming and its basic types

Classical brainstorming

Brainstorming is one of the most widely used and an extremely effective methods for divergent idea generation. This technique was developed by New York advertising executive Alex Osborn around the years 1939 -1941.  In 1953 the procedures and rules had been defined and appeared in his book Applied Imagination.

Classical brainstorming is a predominantly verbal method of problem solving and an ideation technique of divergent idea generation,  conducted in small, specifically organized groups of  different  from each other and equal participants, (3-12 persons), and involves a well-trained leader – facilitator, a secretary, a well-defined problem, a  two separated stages session (idea generation, idea evolution), which normally lasts for 1-1,5 hour.
Methodological and theoretical foundations for brainstorming are the following universal statements:
1. Understanding of human creativity as the process of self-organization, as spontaneous emergence of order out of seeming disorder. Willing  acception of  uncertainty is the  path to creative freedom and new possibilities, and directed ordering of  disorder will spontaneously emerge solutions of the problem. In this sense the essential metaphor of brainstorming is generation and  mastery of creative chaos.
2. There is an analogy between creativity and the evolutionary process in nature. According to these approaches, creativity is a Darwinian process, a “blind-variation-selective-retention process” (BVSR) (Campbell 1960). Namely richness and diversity of life forms as the base of changes, development and creative emergence  of new forms.
Brainstorming is  based on two fundamental principles:
1. Quantity breeds quality.
2. Deferred judgment about the ideas value.
It  is governed by four basic rules:
1. Criticism of an idea is ruled out.
2. Freewheeling and unusual ideas are welcomed.
3. Quantity of ideas is wanted; 4.Combining and improving ideas.
Main brainstorm functions:
1. Brainstorming is a powerful tool in Creative Problem Solving. This technique  helps to create new productive ideas and solves a complex problems.
2.  Brainstorming motivates and develops teams, emphasize teamwork and discussion. Group work provide  a wide range of alternatives and a variety of viewpoints.
The power of this technique is in the group synergy, in generation of a creative energy, in establish a new creative space, where everyone encourage and stimulate others  and new ideas are grow from another ideas.
The essence of brainstorming method is a divergent thinking, namely generating a large quantity of different ideas and hence a generation of diversity.
In addition plenty of ideas is the raw materials and breeding ground on which the effective practical solutions grow. Moreover namely generating  wrong,  stupid and  silly  ideas could spark off  the most  useful and pragmatical  ideas.
The most criterian of brainstormig is the sheer number of genereted ideas. That’s why the main purpose of this method is overcoming and inherent inner and social barriers,  breaking down a mental blocks, habitus, stereotypes and inertia thinking.
Consequently  the main goal of leader is making of a creative friendly atmosphere of comfort and confidence, a special creative space, where the participants freely, spontaneously and gladly  put forward a new ideas.

Procedure steps:
1. The facilitator arranges the meeting for a group of the right size and makeup (ideally 4-8 people).
2. The facilitator conduct  warm-up session, generating a creative atmosphere and criticism-free environment.
3. The facilitator clearly define the problem and the objectives to achieve
writing it on a flipboard, whiteboard or other system where everyone can see it.
He review the ground rules instructs the participants to generate ideas ( anyone can say an idea at any time or say in turn, allowing people to pass if they have no new ideas).
4. All participants present their ideas, and the facilitator or idea collector records them. All ideas will be accepted and registered.
5. The facilitator encourages creativity and an enthusiastic behaviour in the group.
6. To ensure clarity, participants may elaborate on their ideas.
7. The facilitator organizes the ideas based on the topic goal and encourages participants to work on other people’s ideas, in order to improve them. Ideas that are identical can be combined, all others should be categorized and kept. 8.       The group itself, or special group of critics, evaluate the ideas and select one as the solution to the problem proposed to the group.
9. The facilitator clarifies the solution and concludes the session.

Brainstorming advantages include :
• The rules of brainstorming is easy to understand, easy to master and use.
• It is inexpensive, simple technique,  that requires few material resources.
• Many ideas can be generated in a short time.
• Encourages creative thinking and thinking “out of the box”
• One idea can spark off other ideas.
• Is a democratic, fun and exiting  way of generating ideas
• Provides an opportunity for widespread participation and involvement
• Everyone can be involved equally, every idea is a worthy one
• Spirit of cooperation is created.
• Develops a creative abilities and creative thinking of group members.
• Universality of the method and possibility to combine it with other technique.

Brainstorming disadvantages include:
• Requires an experienced and sensitive facilitator
• Can be chaotic, unfocused.and intimidating.
• Can take too much time if the group is not properly controlled
• If not managed well, criticism and negative evaluation may occur.
• More discrete participants might find it difficult to express their crazy ideas.
• Lack  of reliable criteria that  determine the quality of solutions.

Different methods and major brainstorming techniques

There are many variations of classical brainstorming, which  have been built upon basic principles. These include additional techniques, procedures, games, tools, equipment and technology used to organize and  stimulate the participants. The leader should compare different brainstorming techniques, select the best brainstorming method and apply it to the specific team situation.
There are several factors to consider:
1. The basic characteristics of the problem: complexity, level of uncertainty and novelty, inexpressiveness, heterogeneity, dynamics.
2. The peculiar properties of the group: size, varied a group, level of development and qualification, status and age of group members.
3. The brainstorming session situation: brainstorming space, the availability of necessary equipment, special blanks, cards, pens, white-board a flip chart or software tool.

I. Structure and procedures difference

1. Reverse (negative) brainstorming.

2. Combined brainstorming.

2.1. Double brainstorming.
2.2. Reverse and classical (direct) brainstorming.
2.3. Reverse -Classical (direct) – Reverse brainstorming.
2.4.  Shuttle Brainstorming.

3. Question  brainstorming.

4. Stop-and-go brainstorming.

5. Gordon-little variation.

6. Rawlinson brainstorming.

7. Kaleidoscope brainstorming technique (KBS). 

8. Wildest idea technique.

9. Individual brainstorming.

10. Brainwriting.

11. Individual brainwriting.

II. Group brainstorming techniques

1. Group brainwriting technique.

2. Brainwriting pool (BP)

3. The Gallery method

3.1. Post it Note brainstorming
3.2. Display brainstorming
3.3.   Brainwalking

4.  6-3-5 Brainwriting (6-3-5 Method, or Method 635)

5. Brain writing game

6. Constrained brainwriting

7. Round-Robin  and Roundtable brainstorming

7.1. Round-Robin  Technique (The verbal version)
7.2. Roundtable Brainstorming (the written version)
a) One paper version
b) Stack of cards version
c) Small groups version
d)  Sequencing version.

8. Group passing technique

The GROUP pass technique involves sitting in a circle or around a table and offering solutions in a fast paced manner. When the ideas are blurted out in this way there is no time to think long and hard before volunteering a response.
8.1.  One idea and one paper version.
Procedure Steps:
1. Each person in a circular group writes down one idea, and then passes the piece of paper to the next person in a clockwise direction, who adds some thoughts.
2. If a participant does not have an idea they must say “pass” and allow the session to continue because the point of the session is to minimize too much critical analysis.
3. This is repeated until everybody gets the piece of paper with their original idea back.
8.2. The same piece of  paper and many ideas version
The piece of paper is passed to each member present. The participants continue to contribute by writing additional ideas on the piece of paper each time they receive it.
Procedure Steps:
1. The participant  writes many ideas or his comments on the same piece of paper.
2. The paper hands-over to the person sitting at your side in a clockwise direction.
3. Once everyone have contributed their ideas, all ideas are collected and a group constructs a broad solution.
8.3. Idea Book.Technique uses a book for ideas gathering. A description of the problem is listed on the first page of the book.
Procedure Steps:
1. The first person to receive the book lists his or her ideas and then routes the book to the next person. It is possible to use the distribution list.
2. The second person can log new ideas or add his comments to the ideas of the previous person.
3. This procedure continues until the all pages of the book have been filled or until the distribution list is exhausted.
4. The leader reads out and participants discuss the ideas logged in the book.
This technique takes longer, but allows for individual thought whenever the person has time to think deeply about the problem.

9. Nominal group technique

This technique was originally developed by A. L. Delbecq and A. H. VandeVen  (1971),  and has been applied to adult education program planning by K. R. Vedros.
It is a structured from of BrainStorming or BrainWriting with up to:
a) 10 participants and an experienced facilitator
b) 3-4 groups of up to 10 participants, with a spokesperson for each group and a single facilitator overall)
The fundamental principles:
1. A nominal group consists of several people who are prepared to work as a team to resolve a problem.
2.  This method encourages all participants to have an equal say in the process.
Contribution from all participants is encouraged and every individual’s idea is given equal standing, whether unique or not.
3. Ideas are gathered in the nominal technique by confirming a level of anonymity.
4. It is used to generate a ranked list of ideas.
The essential characteristics of NGT are:
1. Silent generation of ideas by writing.
2. Round-robin feedback from group members to record each idea in a terse phrase on a flip chart.
3. Discussion of each recorded idea for clarification and evaluation.
4. Individual voting on priority of ideas with the group decision being mathematically derived through rank-ordering or rating.
Various forms of the procedure can be undertaken, however, the classical form uses the following steps.
Procedure Steps:
1. Participants are asked to write down their ideas anonymously (10 minutes).
2. Round-robin recording of ideas, allows each person in turn to read out one idea, which the facilitator writes up on a flip chart for all to view and numbered sequentially. This is repeated going around the groups until all ideas are exhausted and any duplicates are eliminated.
3. Serial discussion to clarify ideas and check communication is encouraged by the facilitator. Discussions are calm and controlled to aid clarification of the idea, they are not heated debates. This process used is called distillation.
4. Preliminary anonymous vote on item importance is usually carried out in the method described under Anonymous Voting.
5. Further discussion and voting, takes place if the voting is not consistent. Steps 3 – 4 can be repeated and any ideas that received votes will be re-discussed for clarification.
6. The top ideas could be forwarded to specialized brainstorming session in specific: departments, units or groups. Thus one group may work on the color required in a product, another group may work on the size and so forth. Each group will come back to the whole group for ranking the listed ideas.

10. The Buzz session

This method was developed by J.D. Phillips (1948).  A small group drawn from a larger group that discuss a specific aspects of a larger topic. A small group can to solve the common problem separately or solve specific sub-problems. The leader devides the group into several smaller groups and offers them some sub-problems prepared in advance.
Large audiences are divided into sub-groups of six people who generate ideas for six minutes. Each group selects a secretary who records ideas and reports them to the large group.
Procedure steps:
1. Leader divides the audience into smaller groups (3-8 members, ideally-6).
2. A chairman or secretary is appointed for each group and a time limit for the discussion is established (6-10 minutes).
3. The group to generate ideas related to the problem.
4. Chairmen present the group’s ideas to the large group for further discussion.

11. Rolestorming technique

This method was developed by Griggs (1985) and described by VanGundy (1988).
Participants take on another identity and view problems and solutions from a different standpoints.  This will allow you to come up with ideas that you normally would not feel comfortable suggesting, but which you can freely express by attributing them to someone else.
They try to answer on such questions as: What would you do if you were someone else? Your parent? Your teacher? Your manager? Your partner? Your best friend? Your enemy?
Procedure Steps:
1. Invent an identity or use that of someone you know.
2. Assume that identity or refer to the fictitious person as ‘this person would suggest…..’
3. Brainstorm in separate identity.
4. Change roles. Now try another identity obviously this can be done many times for many different characters.

12. Rotating roles

Rotating between roles allows participants to bring forward different views in that role or position as a process owner or stakeholder, views that often do not surface unless you “act out” a particular role.
Variation 1.
Procedure Steps:
1. The facilitator prepares a wheel with role titles and writes the problem in the center of the wheel. Role cards and a flip chart for each role must also be prepared.
2.  Participants are seated around the table .
3.  Every participant views the problem from his/her present role and records concerns, insights, ideas, or recommendations on the appropriate flip chart prepared for this role.
4. After everyone has finished, the wheel is rotated one position or, as an option, participants move to the next chair.
5. This process of rotation continues, and ideas are recorded on the flip charts, until all participants have rotated through all roles. No “pass” is allowed.
6. The facilitator ends the session and compiles flip chart information for the team’s next step in the problem solving.
Variation 2.
Procedure Steps:
1. Participants brainstorm ideas from the perspective of a character not in the room.
2. They record the ideas on the posted sheets of paper with the name of imaginary personalities.
3. Have people walk from sheet to sheet to write their ideas from that perspective.

13. Blue slips technique

Method was developed by C. C. Crawford of the University of Southern California (USA) in the 1920s.
It is an organized process for use in gathering ideas from large groups even up to 5000 people, though it’s much easier to handle with a lecture theatre and groups ( 50 – 200). This tool is particularly helpful early in the community partnership’s development.
It has been used to gather strategic information, generate creative ideas for enhance the quality of services , conduct strategic planning sessions and support management practice.
Traditionally, Blue Slips are made by cutting 8.5″ X 11″ paper into eight pieces.
Procedure Steps:
1. The group facilitator distributes a stack of Blue Slips to each participant (from 5 to 50 slips depending on how many ideas you want back)
2. Then he describes the purpose of the Blue Slip session, such as generating ideas to “solve a problem“ or “develop a vision statement.”
3. The facilitator presents the problem statement or creative task in terms such as: “How can we….?”, “In what ways might we…”.
4. The facilitator asks the group for ideas on a topic. Ideas should be written as brief thoughts and one idea per slip.
Modifications: Displayed images or words to the whole meeting to act as triggers, or organising participants to work in twos or threes.
5. When participants  are slowing down and running out of ideas or the time is up (usually 5 – 10 minutes), the facilitator collects the Blue Slips.
6. The group explore and collate the Blue Slips and sort them into similar categories, organize the ideas by similarity, degree of usability, priorities and using these to trigger further thoughts. This can be accomplished by spreading them on a table, sticking them to a wall, or placing them in boxes.
7. Once ideas are sorted and discussed and the best ideas identified and the group decided how they will use this ideas.
1. They provide an opportunity for anonymity, and level the playing field so everyone can make an equal contribution.
2. Blue Slips are great idea-catchers.
3. This method can give an audience a sense of involvement.
4. It can used when there is no time or ability to discuss ideas, and it is neccesery just  to collect people’s thoughts.
5. This technique can successfully supply a method of achieving large numbers of ideas swiftly.

14. The Pin card technique

Pin-Card technique is another variation of Brainwriting method developed by the Battelle Institute (H. Geschka, et al., 1981)
The pin cards that can be small cards or post-its (each person having their own colour) are passed to the person on the immediate right, thus the card is passed around the table.  This encourages turn-taking and individual contributions and is basically self-facilitating, but is not anonymous. The procedure requires group members to write their ideas on different-colored cards and to pin them on a board for group examination.
Procedure Steps:
1. A problem statement is written on a chalkboard or a pinboard which is visible to a 5-8 participants group round a table and the group discusses and clarifies it.
2. Stacks of colored cards are distributed among the group members, with each member receiving a different-colored stack.
3. The group members silently write down one idea on each card and placing it in a pile for their right-hand neighbour. 4. When group members need inspiration for generating additional ideas, they pick a card  from the pile created by their left-hand neighbour.  Fresh ideas triggered by this are written on new cards and are placed on the pile on their right. (The trigger card may be either retained or passed on at the same time.)
5. Thus the cards are transported round the table in the same direction from left to right of each participant. The leader should actively promote card circulation to avoid accumulation between particular participants.
6. After 20 to 30 minutes of this activity, the cards are gathered after and positioned on a large display board and sorted into idea categories, using title cards as headings for the different columns.
7. The group members read each card out , if necessary, move some cards to different categories and eliminate duplications. Categories can be adjusted and items re-categorised if appropriate.
8. The leader points to each card and asks for comments or questions to help clarify idea meanings. Because the ideas are color-coded, the originator of a particular idea can be easily determined and, if necessary, questions asked of this author.
The Pin-Card approach possesses many of the same advantages of brainwriting: it reduces anxiety for persons who have trouble verbalizing ideas in group situations, and a larger quantity of ideas can be generated than in most brainstorming. procedures.
A bottlenecks often develop when a group member receives more cards than he passes on and, second, the group members may feel a great deal of time pressure to generate as many ideas as possible.

15. The K-J method

Method was developed as the the Affinity Diagram by Japanese anthropologist Jiro Kawakita in the 1960s and has become one of the Seven Management and Planning Tools of modern Japanese quality management and uses values of Buddhism intended as structured meditation.

It is a Creativity or problem-solving technique in which ideas are written on cards, then the cards are grouped, and finally the grouped ideas are classified, named, voted and selected.
The KJ-Method tends to place emphasis on the ideas being relevant, verifiable and important. This variation of brainstorming encourages less verbal members of a group to participate. The method, in less than 45-minutes, allows teams to come to a democratic consensus on an answer, avoiding endless discussion for elements that turn out to be unimportant
Procedure Steps:
1. Determination of a Focus Question or problem statement.  Sample focus questions are: What are the biggest obstacles preventing our products from selling?
2. All members of the group write responses to the problem or question on separate cards.
a) Analyse. All relevant facts and information are written on individual cards and collated.
b) Idea generation. With the help of  Brainstorming writing  participants  generate a supply of ideas on cards. Ideas are writing on separate cards.
3. Then each participant puts their cards  up randomly on the white board or large wall space so all notes are visible to everyone. Participant read other people’s contributions and add new ideas to the collection.
4. The cards are silently grouped and categorize by each member while the others observe. Similar ideas are collected and placed together. It is very important that no one talk during this step.
5. Naming Each Group.  When ideas are grouped, for each group, each participant select a heading to each group and assign a name that captures the meaning of the group. For each group write an apt title and place it on top of its group of cards. Names should be short. It is useful to write or highlight this note in a different color. Group names can be wrote on different color stickies.
4. If there many groups repeat the group making, using new titles to create higher-level groups. Combine groups into “supergroups” if appropriate.
Participants can discuss the shape of the chart, any surprising patterns, and especially reasons for moving controversial notes.
5.  Voting for the Most Important Groups.
Every participant democratically share their opinion on the most important groups. They can first  vote on group then on  specific ideas within the groups
Procedures  of voting:
a). Give each  participant 3 -9  votes (stars)  to  place on the best ideas or groups.
b). Give each  participant  for voting 100 percent per person.
6.  Ranking the Most Important Groups or ideas within groups.
Participans Grab all the group sticky notes with votes on them and place them on the whiteboard .  The sticky  with the highest numbers votes are place at the top.
7. Participants  try to explain and express what the chart means to them.  Ideas for the solution are often developed whilst explaining the structure of the problem. The team spend the most “discussion time” talking about the most important outcomes of the exercise.
It allows a team to be creative and critical in a productive manner,
It helps separate facts from opinions. It is an efficient way of organizing seemingly unrelated facts. It means thoughts are expressed, clarified, summarised and prioritised in a non-confrontational manner. It promotes effective teamwork.
It reduces the dominance of a vocal or strong individual on the conclusions of the team.

16. Snowballing technique

It is so called on the analogy of the increasing size of a snowball when rolled down a snow-covered slope. Snowball samples begin from a core of known elements and are then increased by adding new ideas and solutions.

It involves concentrating groups of ideas pertaining to the same problem and assigning them a theme. This method is often used where there is no available sampling frame of new fiild or process.
1. One slip of paper is used per idea generated or possible solution offered
2. A meeting is set up of up to 5 people. The slips of paper are viewed and then grouped ‘like with like’.
3. Duplicates can be created if the idea is relevant to more than one group.
4. Patterns and relationships in the groups are observed.

III. Brainstorming combined with other famous techniques

1. Team Idea mapping

The team idea mapping method is based on association. It may improve collaboration and increase the quantity of ideas, and is designed so that all attendees participate and no ideas are rejected.
Procedure steps:
1. The process begins with a well-defined topic.
2. Each participant brainstorms and gathers ideas individually.
3. All participants  bring together and  share the meaning of each of their ideas.
Then their ideas combined to form an immense map of ideas, called an idea map.
4. During  ideas sharing, new ideas may arise by the association, and they are added to the map as well. The participants can asked to contribute in turn by associating the word or idea with another one.  Then all ideas are merged onto one large idea map.
5. The final stage involves further idea generation,  lastly prioritization  and taking action based on the best ideas presented.
The benefit of this method is that it ensures a large volume of different ideas. It does also allow a broader perspective in the variety of ideas.

2. The classic cluster brainstorming method (the bubble method)

This technique helps to reveal many different aspects of the topic.
Procedure Steps:
1. Write the topic or word in the in the center of the paper and draw a circle.
2. Take about 5-10 minutes and just jot words all around your word. It is nessessery freely to write down anything that comes to your mind. Any editing and  erasing and corrections are not allowed.
3. Circle your new words,  draw lines and make connections to the initial word.
4. Agaun just start writing new words about your words on the paper. Do not analyze and edit  your work.
5. Evaluate and develop your ideas
There are  some different ways of this method implementation:
a) Use a big white board to brainstorm as a group.
b) Have everyone write some ideas on their own cluster brainstorm, then come together and write it on the big white board.

3. Card story boards

It is an “idea’ organizing” method using tree logic.  With card story boards, the facilitator can concentrate on idea-generation of particular topics and sub-topics much more closely than typically possible in open-ended methods .
Cards are arranged in a tabular format – a simple row of header cards, each with a column of idea cards below  possibly header and sub-header cards, perhaps with added action or comment notes attached.

4. Trigger method

The trigger method is often used in conjunction with classical brainstorming ( Bujake, 1969). This method based on repetition. One idea triggers another and another and so on until as many thoughts as possible are generated.
Procedure steps:
1.The leader defines the problem.
2. He asks each member of the group to generate and record as many ideas as possible. (In silence during 5-10 minutes).
Variation 1.
1. One member of the group is then asked to read out his or her ideas to the rest of the group.
2. The ideas read out are then discussed by the rest of the group for about ten minutes with the objective of developing variations on the ideas or new ideas.
3. The procedure continues until all ideas of each participants have been discussed.
Variation 2.
1. One member reads out his list – others silently cross out ideas repetitive ideas and write down their new ideas
2. The next member reads out his original list of ideas not already covered, and his new list induced by listened ideas.
3. The last member reads out his original list and  new list induced by listened ideas and procedure is repeated counter current (ie, if there are 6 folk, the order goes 1,2,3,4,5,6,5,4,3,2,1,2,3,4,5,6…)
Everyone’s paper is then collected and can be typed up into a single list of ideas – all duplicates should have been crossed out during the session.
Variation 3.
1. Participants select the best idea or are collect then 5 – 10 are randomly chosen and brainstorm on those ideas as ‘triggers’ for more new ideas.
2. The procedure is repeated until participants have found the best solution.
Advantage.Tigger sessions are a good way of getting lots of ideas down from untrained resources.

5. Imaginary brainstorming

This method is like Classic Brainstorming, but with a slight differences.
Procedure Steps:
1. The leader creates a problem statement. When defining the problem make sure that it has a subject – who is acting, a verb – the action, an object – who / what is being acted upon.
2. The leader conduct a traditional, classic brainstorming session.
3. Then, everyone suggests changes to some of the words to create a new problem statement, ideally one that is off-the-wall and bizarre.
4. They brainstorm again ideas for the imaginary problem and make a list of solutions.
6. The participant apply ideas from the imaginary brainstorming to the real problem statement.
7. They analyse all of the ideas (real, imaginary and combined) and take forward those of most interest.

6. Air cliché

This technique (author Arthur Van Gundy) is the combination of a fun atmosphere, a structured brainstorming procedure, and brainwriting. This idea generation activity helps groups generate ideas while simultaneously encouraging the playful atmosphere needed for unique ideas. Paper airplanes are used to create this atmosphere while enhancing cross-fertilization of ideas.
Procedure Steps:
1. Define the problem and  instruct the participants to organize into small groups of four to seven (five is ideal).
2. Pass out the following list of clichés to each participant.  Incourage the group members to add their own clichés to this list.
List of Sample Cliches: Ace in the Hole. Cart Before the Horse. Chase a Rainbow. Divide and Conquer. Drop in the Bucket.  Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining. Filled to the Brim. Fish in Troubled Waters.
3. Ask each person to select one cliché and try to use it as a trigger for an idea.
4. Tell participants to write it down on a piece of paper, using markers and writing in large letters and use it as trigger to brainstorm other ideas during five to ten minutes.
5. Then group members select three or four ideas, write  them on papers and fold their papers into paper airplanes and fly them to one of the other groups. Everyone throws their airplanes at about the same time.
6. Group members next should collect the airplanes flown to them and take turns reading aloud the ideas written on.
7. Each group then tries to improve the ideas read or use them as triggers to brainstorm other ideas. Groups record all modifications and new ideas.
8. Finally, each group should select a sample of their best ideas and report them to the large group. Ask the large group to evaluate the overall process.

Air Cliché Variation:
Ask participants brainstorm totally absurd ideas for a problem, write them down on paper airplanes, and fly them to other groups. Groups receiving the ideas then discuss the ideas and decide which ones are most impractical. The winning idea is the most absurd one from all the groups. Ask each group to attempt transforming its worst idea into a more workable one.

7. Battelle-Buildmappen-Brainwriting

The Battelle-Buildmappen-Brainwriting (BBB) method was developed by researchers at the Battelle Institute in Frankfurt, Germany. (J. N Warfield, H. Geschka and R. Hamilton, 1975).
The BBB approach begins with classical brainstorming, followed by idea stimulation from a picture portfolio (the buildmappen) and ends with a second round of idea generation using the basic brainstorming method.
Procedure Steps:
1.    A problem is read to a group numbering five to eight persons.
2.    The group verbally brainstorms to develop known or trivial solutions to the problem.
3. Each group member is given a folder containing eight to ten pictures that are unrelated to the problem.
4. Each person writes down any new ideas or modificati ons of the old ideas suggested by the pictures.
5. The solutions of each group member are read to the entire group.
6. The group discusses the ideas with the goal of developing additional variations.
A major advantage of the BBB method is that the individual writing of ideas stimulated by the pictures can help overcome the personal inhibitions often found in face- to-face idea generation sessions. Ideas are generated by individual free-association, by stimulation of others’ ideas, and by stimulation from the pictures.

8. Visual brainstorming

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.

9. Rightbraining

It is used as a visual method of creating ideas.  It also can be used also as a change from other creative methods.
• Partially complete images have a particular creative use in that our minds do not like things to be incomplete and will hence try to complete them in any way possible.
• Images and doodling release participant creative potential.
• Using this method can trigger thoughts that other methods have not touched yet.
Procedure Steps:
1. Problem statement.
2. Start by dreaming about the problem, thinking perhaps about some metaphor or essence within it, or just let your subconscious go where it will go.
3. Then just doodle whatever comes to mind. You can do as many doodles as possible. Don’t do detailed single images. Deliberately do incomplete parts of lots of images. Do curves and shapes that hint at what you are thinking about.
4. Combine the images. Now cast your mind across the images you have created and randomly pick two or a few and see if you can combine them in some way. It is possible to swap the doodles with another participants and hence use other people’s images to trigger further ideas.
5. The result may be a complete idea or may trigger further ideas about what you might do to solve your problem.

10. Braindrawing

This technique can be used  when a group of people prefer non-verbal methods of creativity. Braindrawing works by providing non-verbal stimulus to the creative (and non-verbal) right brain. Having the doodle done by everyone ensures that it is completely random, with a number of different elements. Participants should  not fill the paper, but simply add to what is drawn, so the result is a mixture of everyone’s doodles. Mixed colours adds to the stimulation.
Procedure steps:
1. Pin or tape up a number (3-7) of flipchart pages around the room. Have enough flipchart pens so everyone can write on these. A mixture of colors is good.
2. Ask people to go to one flipchart at a time and start or extend the doodles there. Do an example yourself to show this.
3. Stop the doodles when all flipcharts are reasonably full (but not overloaded) with doodling.
4. Use the results as stimuli
5. Ask people what shapes they can see in the pictures, what it reminds them of and then how this can be brought back to create ideas to solve the problem at hand.
6. Capture the ideas on another flipchart and process afterwards in the normal way.

11. Brain sketch (A. Van Gandy, 1988)

Brainsketching is an idea generation technique, based on brainwriting, that uses sketching as the primary means of recording ideas.
Procedure steps:
1. A group of 4-8 people sit around a table, or in a circle of chairs. The problem statement is agreed, and discussed until understood.
2. Each participant privately draws one or more sketches (each on separate sheets of paper) of how it might be solved, passing each sketch on to the person on their right when it is finished. The facilitator suggests that sketches should not take more than 5 minutes or so to draw.
3. Participants take the sketches passed on to them and either develop or annotate them, or use them to stimulate new sketches of their own, passing the amended original and/or any new sketches on to their neighbors when ready. 4. After the process has been running for a suitable period or energy is running lower, the sketches are collected in.
5. It will probably help to display all the sketches and to discuss them in turn for clarification and comment.
6. Then participants move on to any appropriate categorisation, evaluation and selection process.
Variation 2.
Procedure steps:
1.  Participants sketch their ideas individually on several large sheets of paper pasted on the wall.
2. Then  the participants explain their idea sketches, switch places and continue sketching. Usually, about five such rounds of idea sketching take place.
3. Finally all idea sketches are collected, integrated, disscussed and evaluated.

12. Electronic brainstorming, Online brainstorming or Brainlining

Online brainstorming (Peter Lloyd)  or simply electronic brainstorming is the modern version of brainstorming. The word brainlining is combined with the words ‘brainstorming’ and ‘online’, and also refers to live, realtime brainstorm session.

It is done virtually, whereby people can be connected from different region and countries. Online brainstorming is conducted in the same way as traditional brainstorming the only difference is the absence of physical or visual presence.
1. Participants with an electronic meeting system, creates a shared list of ideas over the Internet.
2. All participants to enter ideas independently and simultaneously.
3. All ideas are recorded and become immediately visible to all.
4. All ideas are available to all participants during and after the session.
5. Ideas are typically anonymized to encourage openness and reduce personal prejudice. Anonymity is covered through the use of avatars.
6.  In online brainstorming, the moderator does play a more pivotal role.  Brainlining also introduces the leadership of a trained moderator who conducts each session and introduces special stimulants during the session
7. Brainlining sessions can be set up within a couple of hours, and can last anywhere from several hours to several weeks. The participants are thus allowed to think constructively and the volume of ideas does often tend to be larger and more versatile than those gathered from traditional brainstorming.
Brainlining describes several methods of generating ideas which have been taking place online.  There are many mediums available to perform such an activity:
1. E-Mail Brainstorming. Using e-mail the facilitator solicits ideas from individual team members.  Replies are sent back to the facilitator who compiles them and sends them back out to the team members for further responses. Brainlining clients are e-mailed a list of all of the ideas generated.
2. Forums. Online forums can be thought of as ongoing brainstorming sessions to the extent that they allow for the free flow of ideas. Online services such as Compuserve’s creativity forum provide a vast cross- disciplinary congregation, worldwide in scope, which provides the most diverse, intelligent and unique global think-tank imaginable.
3. Online forms. Participants can log in to a secure Web page and contribute their ideas when it’s most convenient for them. As ideas are submitted, they are stored in a secure database. It can be online form of professional idea-generators, which Lloyd calls “Idea Crews.”
4. These brainlining sessions make use of games designed for the peculiar dynamics of online idea generation. Brainlining games stimulate the flow of ideas, encourage humour, and make the process fun.
5. Peer-to-peer software
a. Chat.
b. Intranets.
c. Video-conferencing.
d. Skype.
General Rules.
The Moderator is in charge; one has to follow the Moderator’s directions.
The Moderator states the problem and announces a letter of the alphabet.
All Brainliners make Suggestions using the given letter.
The games are played with intensity, mutual support and fun.
Play continues until the Moderator gives a new letter or stops the game.
The facilitator sends the question out to group members, and they contribute independently by sending their ideas directly back to the facilitator.
The facilitator then compiles a list of ideas and sends it back to the group for further feedback.
Brainlining is extremely efficient. By this method more ideas are generated and shared with less conformity than in a traditional brainstorming or brainwriting session.
1. It eliminates many of the problems of standard brainstorming, such as production blocking and evaluation apprehension.
2. Members of brainlining sessions tend to participate more freely. Brainstorming technique allow contributors to post their comments anonymously that sidestep a social barriers.
2. The most important feature of brainlining is cross-pollination. The Internet provides a vast, cross-disciplinary congregation, worldwide in scope, which provides the most diverse, intelligent. Brainlining sessions enlist people of divergent interests and expertise.
3.   The benefits of electronic brainstorming increase with group size.
4.  All ideas can be archived electronically in their original form, and then retrieved later for further thought and discussion.

13. The Military brainstorming version

This method is the part of  “Appreciation Process”, which was developed by the both UK and Australian Army for operational planning and further improved by application of human factor. This technique is based on model on directed creativity and focuses on accurate appreciating  of all aspects of the problem, before making a decision. (G. Klein, M. Sebell and others)
Procedure steps:
1. Define the problem. This is best done using the 5WH method, that is by considering the what, why, where, when, who and how of the problem.
2. Examine the facts and individual consideration. What are the factors that influence how you solve this problem. Determine exactly what each one really means to your problem. You can do this simply by asking the question “So what?” after each factor.
3. Present ideas.  Once you have a thorough understanding of all the facts, and what this really means – you can start brain storming options for solving your problem.
4. Critique the ideas.
5. Integrate and development of ideas. Select the best solution and create the plan to achieve it.
6. Converge on solution.

14. Directed brainstorming

In this method the solution space, which includes  the criteria and conditions for evaluating an excellent idea is known before the session is conducted. It is important to bear in mind that in some cases the established criteria can intentionally constrain the ideation process.

Procedure Steps:
1. Еach participant is given one sheet of paper and told the brainstorming question or problem.
2. They are asked to produce one response and stop,  then all of the papers  are randomly swapped among the participants.
3. The other participant will evaluate the idea and try to improve the idea based on the initial criteria.
4. The swapping process is continued for at least for three or more consecutive rounds.
It has been found to almost triple efficiency of directed brainstorming.

15. Variable Brainstorming

Procedure Steps:
1. Identify the variable in the end outcome you look to achieve.
2. List down all the possibilities for that variable. Define different variations of the Variable.
3. Think about the question with each different variable in the form: How can you get more…?
4. Cconsistently generate and brainstorm ideas as answers to questions.

16. Highlighting

This method is a straightforward and vigorous technique, which can be put into place with little training and capable of capturing attention and participation.
Starting from a large list of ideas, which received  from brainstorming. Ideas are screened, the best of which are short-listed triggering discussion.
Procedure Steps:
1. Draw out ideas that seem intriguing or interesting, regardless of viability.
2. Sort into clusters of related ideas, each cluster being a ‘hotspot’.
3. Recognise the ‘hotspots’ that mean something to you, does it have any ‘associations’, perhaps it has unusual consequences or implications?
4. The final solution is the ‘hotspot’, or combination of several ‘hotspots’, that best suit your needs.
Сlusters are only created from items that are felt to be interesting or intriguing, so that the clusters identify ‘hotspots’ – groups of related ideas that have ‘connected’ with someone’s imagination. Other clustering techniques tend to emphasise logical categorisation rather than strength of ‘association’.

17. Value Brainstorming

Procedure Steps:
1. Ask the group to brainstorm and  make a list of primary concerns regarding their problem statement.
2. Ask all participants to brainstorm  to make a list of some of the hidden values lie behind this primary concerns.
3. Participants should rank these values and clarify their meaning.
4. The group should suggest solutions based on these values and what can be done to action the ranked results.

18. Didactic Brainstorming

Procedure Steps:
1. Begin with a question that is an abstract version of your problem statement. For example:   What is beauty?
2. Get participants to discuss for a few minutes, and come up with a variety of answers.
3. Then reveal your true problem statement:  How can we improve the appearance of our staff room?.
This approach might appeal to more philosophical learners.

19. Best idea brainstorming

After defining and clarifying the topic, each person writes down one idea on an index card.
Then partners share their ideas with one another and together write a “best” idea.
These partner ideas are then listed, discussed, culled, and prioritized by the full group.

20. Brainstorming Deluxe

Value-added brainstorming (Greg Bachman, 2000) puts ideas into five segments of a compounding process. It structures the flow of ideas so that each segment of ideas adds value to the next.
Procedure steps:
1. Demand. List ideas about what’s causing the problem you are here to solve.
One feature of this step is that it can unearth causes that haven’t been recognized as driving the problem.
2.  Objectives. Listing goals – what do you want to achieve in solving the problem.
Set aside the managerial tendency to simplify by coping with only a single objective.  By understanding the many possible solutions, the richness of the value-added brainstorming process begins to unfold.
3. Resources. List places and other organizations that you can to go for help with the problem.
After completing step 3, give your group time to breathe and review:
Walk them through the list of ideas from step 1, and reiterate the ideas suggested as objectives.
The review process gives the group an opportunity to make a few more visual and cognitive connections between the cause of the problem and the resources needed to solve it.
4. Processes. List ways to turn the previous ideas into methods, plans, products, and services that will meet your objectives.
Processes are concepts that take resources ideas and shape them into practical ways they can be implemented.
Now, with their ability to focus on details and construct viable processes from the smallest ideas, this formerly silent bunch is adding value.
5. Communication. List possible ways to transfer your ideas to people who might value them.
If participant’s solution will add value to the organization, then they must communicate it. Communication transfers the value of the solutions (processes) to the rest of the organization and its stakeholders.


Markov, S.L. (2010) Mozkovyi schturm i jogo riznovydy jak efektyvni instrumenty vyrichennj upravlinskih problem [Brainstorming and its variants as effective tools for solving management problems]  In S.D. Maksimenko & L.M. Karamushka (Eds.), Actualni problemy psichologii. Vol 1, 27, (pp. 297-215). Kyiv: Publishing House “A.C.K”.

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