6 Brainstorming Techniques for Generating Great Ideas

Mind mapping brainstorming ideas

When it comes to generating great ideas, brainstorming is one of the most effective techniques out there. But not all brainstorming sessions are created equal. In order for a brainstorming session to be successful, you need to use the right techniques. In this blog post, we will discuss 6 different types of brainstorming techniques and explain how they can help you come up with great ideas. 

Nominal Group Technique (NGT)

The nominal group technique (NGT) is defined as a brainstorming method where ideas are generated and voted upon in an organized manner. In NGT, teams brainstorm individually to come up with ideas, which are then discussed as a group. Each idea is written down on index cards or sticky notes and collected together for voting. The first step of the process involves generating as many unique ideas as possible without judging them. This is followed by a round of discussion where each member of the brainstorming team gets to talk about their ideas in detail and explain why they think it’s a good idea. The last step involves voting on the brainstormed ideas, and this can either be done privately or publicly depending on what you prefer. The following diagram represents the NGT for brainstorming.

Direct Brainstorming

Direct brainstorming is defined as a brainstorming method where teams brainstorm ideas together. It’s a simple brainstorming technique that involves throwing out as many unique ideas as possible without judging them and then discussing each idea in detail until you come up with something great. The process starts by defining the problem or brainstorming topic, followed by two rounds of brainstorming: one for generating ideas, and one for refining ideas. In the first round, all team members brainstorm ideas together and write them down on a piece of paper. The second round involves discussing each idea in detail until you come up with something great. Once you’ve refined your list of ideas, it’s time to vote on them and decide which ones to move forward with. The following diagram represents the direct brainstorming technique.

Guided Brainstorming

Guided Brainstorming is based on the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving which is the Russian acronym for TRIZ (pronounced treez – Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskikh Zadatch).

It leverages the experience of group members (aka inventors) as a thought-provoking suggestion captured in the form of Inventive Principles. The goal is to have the ideas capture different aspects of the system elements, actions, and environment. These principles can be used to overcome “functional fixedness,” (or psychological inertia, as it is referred to in the TRIZ community) and stimulate new ways to find and use hidden resources to address the problem. The guided brainstorming technique results in the creation of several ideas, unlike other techniques. The ideas are then evaluated and selected to generate solution concepts. The diagram below depicts the same.

Guided brainstorming is a more structured brainstorming technique that involves splitting the brainstorming process into five steps: define the problem, generate ideas, select the best ideas, develop the selected ideas, and evaluate the results. In step one, you need to define the problem or brainstorm a topic so everyone is on the same page. In step two, team members generate ideas by brainstorming individually and writing them down on a piece of paper. In step three, you select the best ideas from the list and move on to step four. Step four involves developing the selected ideas into something great. And in step five, you evaluate the results of your brainstorming session and decide whether or not you need to repeat the process again.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping brainstorming is defined as a brainstorming method where ideas are generated using mind maps. It’s a visual brainstorming technique that involves drawing out your thoughts on paper in order to generate new ones. In this method, teams brainstorm individually to come up with ideas, which are then discussed as a group. Each idea is written down on a piece of paper and collected together for brainstorming. The first step of the process involves generating as many unique ideas as possible without judging them. This is followed by a round of discussion where each member of the brainstorming team gets to talk about their ideas in detail and explain why they think it’s a good idea. The last step involves brainstorming new ideas that stem from the original ones. Below is a sample mind map diagram representing the brainstorming process:

Group Passing

Group passing is defined as a brainstorming method where ideas are generated and passed around in a group. It’s a simple brainstorming technique that involves throwing out as many unique ideas as possible without judging them and then discussing each idea in detail until you come up with something great. The process starts by defining the problem or brainstorming topic, followed by two rounds of brainstorming: one for generating ideas, and one for refining ideas. In the first round, all team members brainstorm ideas together and write them down on a piece of paper to generate as many unique ones as possible without judging them. The second round involves discussing each idea in detail until you come up with something great.

Question Brainstorming

Question brainstorming is defined as a brainstorming method where ideas are generated by asking questions. It’s a simple brainstorming technique that involves throwing out as many unique questions as possible without judging them and then discussing each question in detail until you come up with something great. The process starts by defining the problem or brainstorming topic, followed by two rounds of brainstorming: one for generating questions, and one for refining questions. In the first round, all team members brainstorm questions together and write them down on a piece of paper to generate as many unique ones as possible without judging them. The second round involves discussing each question in detail until you come up with something great.

You may also want to check out my blog on first principles thinking titled – First principles thinking: Concepts & Analysis.

Ajitesh Kumar
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Ajitesh Kumar

I have been recently working in the area of Data analytics including Data Science and Machine Learning / Deep Learning. I am also passionate about different technologies including programming languages such as Java/JEE, Javascript, Python, R, Julia, etc, and technologies such as Blockchain, mobile computing, cloud-native technologies, application security, cloud computing platforms, big data, etc. For latest updates and blogs, follow us on Twitter. I would love to connect with you on Linkedin. Check out my latest book titled as First Principles Thinking: Building winning products using first principles thinking
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