Brainstorming is a creative and effective way to generate ideas. When we brainstorm, we are essentially solving a problem with a structured approach so that we can:
- Think freely,
- Organize our thoughts,
- And have clarity.
But what’s the best way to brainstorm? There are many different techniques, and some work better than others depending on the given problem to be solved.
In this article, we will introduce 10 brainstorming techniques that work well. Some are common, while others are a little more unorthodox. But all of them can help you and your team unleash your creativity and come up with great ideas.
When you are trying to come up with new ideas, sometimes the best way to get started is to simply let your mind go wild.
Word storming is best used when you do not have a starting point and you want to generate a clearer and bigger picture in mind.
How to do a word storm
With this technique, you only need a sheet of paper or a whiteboard and simply write a prompt word on top. You then write down every possible word that comes to mind, no matter how crazy it sounds.
The great thing about word storming is that there is no judgment. You can write down everything, no matter how silly or off-the-wall it may seem. The more ideas you generate, the better.
You then group the words that share a common theme. These clusters of words will give you a kickstart on heavier ideation.
SWOT analysis is an assessment framework organizations and businesses use to evaluate decisions and initiatives. It is also an effective brainstorming strategy.
It stands for:
- and Threats.
SWOT analysis is the best approach when you want to evaluate your ideas objectively. This can be a really helpful way to narrow down your options and focus on the ideas that have the most potential.
How to do a SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis is pretty straightforward. You write the concept you want to evaluate on top of your whiteboard. Then create four grids or columns and label it in order with Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
The next step is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your idea, as well as the opportunities and threats it presents – list it all down in bullet form. Remember to be as objective as possible!
From the assessment you came up with, make a conclusion. This is why being objective is needed because if the negative outweighs the positive then you have to either plan better or discard the idea. If the positive outweighs the negative then it is a good idea to pursue.
Free editable SWOT analysis templates
We have gathered the best free SWOT analysis templates online so you and your team can move your ideas forward easily, here are some of them:
Mind mapping is a technique that can help you brainstorm without any limitations.
This brainstorming technique is not only a great way to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions. It also encourages collaboration, as everyone can contribute ideas.
The best part? It is easy to look at your map later on and reflect on what you did, helping you connect dots and draw conclusions faster.
How does mind mapping work
For this technique, you start by writing your main idea in the center of a page, then draw branches out of it with related topics. You can keep adding ideas and concepts to each branch until the map is filled with details.
Free mind mapping tools
We have roundup the best mind mapping tools so you can collaborate with your team and bring clarity to a complex idea:
The Socratic Circle is a brainstorming technique that is named after the famous Greek philosopher Socrates whose principle was to teach students to think critically rather than being fed with the answer.
This technique is perfect for groups large and small. Socratic Circle is effective in challenging ideas as a group and getting everyone involved.
What happens during a Socratic Circle
The group sits in a circle and one person starts by sharing an idea. Then, each person in the circle takes a turn on asking a question.
This brainstorming strategy is more than just a question-and-answer. The goal here is neither to debate nor prove a point but rather to elaborate on the idea shared, building off of what the previous person said.
In short, Socratic circle aims to improve an idea and help it become the best it can be. As the discussion progresses, everyone gets a chance to share their thoughts and connect their ideas to form a better one.
AI Writing Assistant
Do you ever feel like you are stuck in a brainstorming rut? If so, then it could be time to turn to technology—an AI writing assistant can be of great help.
Sometimes, the light bulb moment just doesn’t come, no matter how hard you try to squeeze your brains out. Looking for inspiration takes a lot of time as well, you need to read and gather information.
Good news: an AI writing assistant has scanned all of the information posted on the internet. Without any heavy lifting, you can generate quality ideas in an instant. A tool that comes handy if you are experiencing writer’s block.
How to use AI to generate ideas
Copysmith is an AI-powered writing assistant that generates content ideas so you can keep up with all of your content marketing needs.
First, simply select a template. Copysmith has 60+ use cases you can choose from that cover all of your content needs – whether it’s social media ads, product descriptions or blog posts, Copysmith has you covered.
If you want to create from scratch, you can do so. Simply choose Custom Content Generator.
Let’s say you want to brainstorm ideas for your blog, with Copysmith that’s easy as 1-2-3.
Under the Articles & Blogs category, select Blog Ideas. Simply input the tone and the targeted keywords. In seconds, you have generated five ideas for your next blog – amazing, right?
Look closely and you can notice that Copysmith not only generated the title for your next blog post but it has written the introduction as well, saving you a lot of time and effort.
Another edge of Copysmith as an AI writing assistant is that it generates engaging content. As you can see, it shows the number of characters for each blog idea to tell you the length of your content.
It also gives you a readability score so you can choose which content will perform best. Content that is easy to read leads to better engagement.
There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try the next time you are stuck in creativity limbo. Who knows, an AI writing assistant might just be the one you need to generate ideas to write engaging blog posts!
Try Copysmith today, no credit card required. Simply sign up and enjoy your unlimited 7-day free trial.
Whiteboarding is a great way to help get all your ideas onto the table, literally.
This technique can be a great way to get everyone involved in the brainstorming process and can be especially helpful for visual thinkers who need diagrams or other visual elements to help them come up with ideas.
How to do whiteboarding
All you need is a whiteboard—or even just a large piece of paper—and markers.
Start by having one person write down an idea, then have the next person build upon it. As long as everyone contributes, you will generate lots of ideas in no time.
One great thing about whiteboarding is that it has no rules, you are free to share what’s on your mind and explore topics.
Free online whiteboards
Pros and Cons
The pros and cons technique can help to create more balance when it comes to your brainstorming session.
Pros and cons are a particularly useful tool if you are considering two (or more) options, as it can help you to weigh the different advantages and disadvantages before selecting the right one for you. This brainstorming technique is best used in the planning and decision-making stages.
How do pros and cons work?
To do this, you simply need a blank page and make two lists of the same idea or concept – one which outlines the advantages, and one which outlines the disadvantages.
This helps to bring a fresh perspective to any ideas you might have, as it allows you to think of both the benefits and drawbacks of an idea before taking it further.
It is also useful for exploring potential risks or uncertain future outcomes – by discussing possible pros and cons in advance, you can plan for anything that might arise in advance.
Sometimes, having pressure is good because it pushes you to think quickly – this is how rapid ideation basically works. The key element in this brainstorming technique is the time limit.
When a time constraint poses, there is a sense of urgency to come up with as many ideas as possible. Hence, you are forced to write down all of the ideas you have in your mind because you do not have the time to talk yourself out of it. This technique works best when done in a group setting, so gather your team and get to it.
How does rapid ideation work?
The idea here is to generate as many ideas as you can within a short span of time, preferably between 10 to 15 minutes. Everyone then takes turns to share what they came up with.
The team then discusses and evaluates each idea shared. The goal here is to develop the idea and help it grow.
Once everyone is done sharing, the team will pick the best one.
Fill-in-the-blank is a simple brainstorming technique that helps focus your mind on the task at hand. It helps structure your thinking by limiting the scope of possible solutions.
Plus, it’s fun and can often lead to unexpected and creative solutions!
How fill-in-the-blank works?
In this exercise, you set up a prompt that requires you to fill in the blanks. All you need to do then is come up with 10 words or phrases that will go into the blank space. That is how straightforward it is!
This brainstorming technique is useful when trying to come up with titles and headlines.
As the name suggests, storyboarding focuses on a story or narrative. This technique is heavily used in the UX (user experience) industry.
The idea here is to focus on the customer journey and help improve it by looking at the problem from the customer’s perspective.
How storyboarding works?
For this exercise, you need a whiteboard, sticky notes and markers. First, you draw a simple depiction of the customer journey and add short descriptions beneath.
The next step involves looking at each scenario from the customer’s shoes and spotting the discomfort they experience or the friction in the process.
Once you have identified these weaknesses, you come up with the solution on how you can give your customers the best experience or in other words, a smooth sailing ride.
Brainstorming is an exercise that helps unleash creativity and promotes collaboration in a group. There are many brainstorming techniques out there, to choose which one is the best for your needs depends on the problem being solved and the people involved in the brainstorming exercise.
Sometimes ideas just don’t flow, especially when you are experiencing writer’s block. Fortunately, technology can help and that is why AI is created to help you move your work forward.
Copysmith is an AI writing assistant that helps you generate ideas so you can write quality content fast. Say goodbye to feeling frustrated when your creative juices are not flowing and say hello to accomplishing more with little to no stress. Sign up for Copysmith today and unlock your unlimited 7-day free trial, no credit card required.