Are you in search for a creative solution? Do you want to generate some fresh ideas and inspiration? Try brainstorming! A key component of the design thinking process, brainstorming is a great method for ideation, or coming up with new ideas. On this web page packed with resources, IDEO U explains the purpose of brainstorming and provides instructions for running a brainstorming session, plus much more!
The Learning Upshot
After completing the work on this page, you will be able to:
- Name the benefits of brainstorming
- Know how to plan a productive and fun brainstorming session
- Apply a variety of ideation methods
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Make It Actionable
Now it’s time to personalize it. Give this concept some momentum in the workplace and your own life by completing the following:
1. Why brainstorm? Name 2-3 benefits of brainstorming.
2. Review the list of Rules for Running a Brainstorming Session. Identify one rule that you think might be challenging for your work team and explain why.
3. Using the framework under How to Plan a Brainstorming Session, design and host a brainstorming session with your work team (alternatively, do this with your family or in another social circle).
4. After conducting your brainstorming session, reflect on your own or discuss with others:
- What worked well?
- What was challenging for you personally?
- What surprised you?
- How did you team respond to the brainstorming session?
- How would you improve your next brainstorming session?
5. On your own, try one of the other ideation activities or methods. Reflect on your own or discuss with others:
- Which method did you choose and why?
- What were the results?
- How might you incorporate this or other ideation methods into your work?
6. Bonus (optional): Try all of the ideation activities and methods. After you have completed all of them, reflect on these questions:
- How easy or difficult was this challenge for you?
- What did you discover about yourself?
- What did you try that you are going to keep doing? What did others notice about you trying new things? If it’s not obvious, ask them.
Dig deeper on this topic with the following resources:
- “Better Brainstorming” | HBR article
- “For Better Brainstorming Tell an Embarrassing Story” | HBR article
- “To Foster Innovation, Cultivate a Culture of Intellectual Bravery” | HBR article
- “Your Best Ideas are Often Your Last Ideas” | HBR article
- “Innovate with Urgency — Even When There’s No Crisis” | HBR article
- “Innovation for Impact” | HBR article
- “6 Useful Creativity Tests” | World of Digits article
- “Creativity” | Psychology Today article
- The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers | TED video
- How Boredom Can Lead to Your Most Creative Ideas | TED video
- The Shared Experience of Absurdity | TEDx video
Note: Harvard Business Review (HBR) has a limit of 2 articles per month for guest users and 4 articles per month for users who register their email. Subscribers have unlimited access.