Got an issue you just can’t solve? Have a campaign coming up that really needs to kick things up a notch? Brainstorming should keep your mind outside the box, but sticking to the basic processes can also keep you stuck in there. There are a few techniques you probably need to learn to even get started brainstorming, whilst knowing where and when to begin – and with whom to collaborate – before you even put the pen to paper.
Brainstorming methods can range from putting yourself in the shoes of your audience, to remotely “Brain-Netting” across platforms between your colleagues, or even the Round Robin (by gathering round to share and then evaluating others ideas). For the rest of us that need a little something extra or different, here’s some guidance to release your inner creativity into brainstorming sessions.
1. Mind Mapping
There’s a whole process to know before you even start creating a mind map. Mind mapping needs to be carefully planned before, during, and after and can come in different shapes and sizes. Overall, a mind map is one of the best ways to structure your ideas as a form of visual representation, and there are tons of great tools to help you get one started (we’re partial to MindNode ourselves).
With the center point being the main idea to correlate, this simple way to form your idea helps to generate a well-rounded view based on multiple ideas. Add color to the paths that are relevant to one another, and spice your ideas up with doodles or various fonts!
2. Right Braining
The right side of the human brain is associated with more creative thoughts and behaviors, hence the term “right braining.” This method prompts you to start some sketches that represent your problem or possible solution.
They say that doodling an incomplete image can help to spur creative insight by taking unfinished images and combining them into a completely new idea. Sunni Brown, the author of The Doodle Revolution, suggests that you access the neurological part of your brain when you engage with the visual language, which doesn’t happen when you’re in “linguistic mode.”
3. Provocative Actions
When you change up your physical surroundings or unexpectedly switch your communication technique, both can create responses to pull your answers from – this gives a great direction to unravel new leads to your perfect solution. Do this by literally changing the room layout that you’re brainstorming in, or moving some fixtures around to throw you off a bit. Something as simple as inviting new plants or art into the workspace can inspire a different track of thinking.
4. Record & Transcribe Your Sessions
The TranscribeMe app lets you record audio and then submit to be transcribed, reducing time spent writing after and never missing an idea again. Sometimes a topical easy flow of conversational ideas creates a tree of branches that are too wild to control. The mobile transcription app will convert the whole session into text, so you have a stable, complete, text-based plan to work off of.
5. Pessimist vs. Optimist
This may seem counterintuitive to some, but what is creative brainstorming without trying something new? It’s been said that putting both a pessimist and an optimist in a conversation together can round up some great idea, while also having a balance of results.
You’ll likely find that the self-proclaimed pessimist (or even a realist) will raise concerning or more realistic results about the future idea, while the self-proclaimed optimist will often attempt to solve every problem eagerly. Draw results from the whole conversation, based on the problems and the solutions that both find.
6. Word Association
Brainstorming itself is bit random, don’t you think? So, why not start with this being your main goal, and just take it from there? Look for a general topic or main idea and think up all of the words associated with it that you possibly can – you’ll find that turning your brain into a makeshift Thesaurus can help you to form new creative connections and come up with completely different conclusions or solutions.
Where you decide to place yourself will affect the way your brain works – leading to the outcome of creativity. Make sure you’re well away from an uninspiring room with basic stationery and a boring view. In fact, neurobiologists believe that enriched environments can contribute to the speed which humans create new neurons and neural connections. Locate yourself in a place that will open your mind!
8. Stand Up and Stretch
Because why would you still want to be sitting down? Standing encourages the fluidity of ideas, you are allowing your body to be more free flowing and this activates the brain. Studies show sitting is “The New Smoking” and branded as a disease. Companies such as Alphabet, AOL, and Facebook all offer standing desks, for the purpose of creativity but also along health guidelines. Give it a go, even if it’s just for a break from the brainstorm meeting.
Sorry brainstormers, but artists Bruno Mars and Celine Dion will only distract you. Depending on your surroundings or work culture, the right music at the right volume can help move brainstorming and forming new ideas along quite nicely. There are guidelines to help pick the right music for you, but you need to decide which would be the right match. You can find some suggestions here, depending on genre, note, and volume to choose.
10. Word & Idea Games
If you’re trying to draw the most out of an idea, make it fun! Start a word storm to start brewing a flow of new relatable words. Work alongside someone else to bounce ideas and gain inspiration to last as long as you feel is enough. To assist you, whether alone or with a group, there are plenty of apps on the market that mashes the classic Scrabble flow with other structures like comic book puzzles.
You may not find yourself ripping your hair out for creativity or inspiration now you see it’s quite simple, but ideas could go unnoticed.
Why not try transcribing your next brainstorming session? Get a quote here and download the mobile app for on-the-go brainstorming!