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9 Brainstorming Techniques

When a business problem arises, one method you may use to try and solve it is brainstorming. This is an effective way to come up with ideas. Below are 9 methods to help make your brainstorming session more effective.

1. Mind Mapping

Ever heard the expression ‘a picture paints a thousand words’? A mind map is a drawing of the relationships between different ideas.

Start off with your goal in the centre, branch out into the major sub-topics, and continue to branch out into as many sub-sub-topics as needed.

2. Gap Filling

This works by writing down where you are now and where you want to be. Then fill in the gap between – the steps necessary to move from one to the other. Collect all ideas from participants and organise them to develop an action plan.

3. Drivers Analysis

This method is designed to help you and your group to determine the drivers behind the problem. By doing this you will notice the influencing factors and deduce solutions to your problem.

4. SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business. In brainstorming, it’s used to stimulate collaborative analysis. What are our real strengths? Do we have weaknesses that we rarely discuss? What other opportunities are available to us? What could prevent us from achieving our goals?

5. Role Play Brainstorming

Role playing different functions allows you and your team to understand relationships better and to answer questions like, what do customers/clients/suppliers/managers/other departments really want? What are the challenges we, and they, face internally or externally?

6. Reverse Thinking

This approach asks participants, “what would someone else do in our situation?” Then consider doing the opposite. Would it work? Why or why not? Does the “usual” approach really work well, or are there better options.

7. Round Robin Brainstorming

A “round robin” is a technique in which everyone gets a chance to participate. In the case of brainstorming that means everyone:

  1. Must share an idea
  2. Wait until everyone else has shared before suggesting a second idea or critiquing ideas.

This is a great way to encourage shy (or uninterested) individuals to speak up while keeping dominant personalities from taking over the brainstorming session.

8. Problem – Hindrance – Solution

Think about the underlying problems causing your headache. The symptom is the element of the problem you see, but what is the underlying problem? Hinderance is what is preventing the solution from working. Addressing the first two steps will help bring to light potential solutions.

9. Business Tools

Use business tools to help make brainstorming easier like our Business Adept Deck of Ideas. The illustrated cards aid your ability to see solutions to your problems by tapping into your broader knowledge base by helping to remove the blinkers. Using our tool can considerably cut the time spent brainstorming.

Tap into your subconcious knowledge, take a free trial - Click here (no sign up required)


Brainstorming is a terrific way to generate ideas, come up with alternative solutions and discovering flaws in your business, but only if the participants are invested to solving the issue. The more engaged everyone is, the more ideas and solutions will appear.

Strategy And Planning