Brainstorming Techniques

There are several powerful brainstorming techniques and tools that are easy to learn.

But first, let's ask the question:

What is brainstorming?

Brainstorming is used to generate a large number of creative ideas when problem solving and achieving objectives. It can even be used for decision making.

Brainstorming was first introduced a book named Applied Imagination written in the late 1930’s by Alex Osborn.

Osborne proposed that groups could double their creative thoughts by using brainstorming.

After some 80 years Brainstorming techniques are now firmly ingrained in many corporate cultures.

Besides being used by groups, brainstorming is equally powerful when used by individuals.

Brainstorming Techniques Guidelines

1. Brainstorming take from a few minutes to a few hours. For big problems or projects it may be done several times and over days, weeks or months.

Note: Many great ideas come to people at 3:00am in the morning when the subconscious is working full force. Your ideas can be captured if you have a pen and paper (or Post It Notes©) by the bed.

2. Come up with as many ideas as possible. The more the better.

3. Don’t judge any of your ideas at this time--no matter how crazy they may seem at first. Just jot them down when they come to you. Some of the craziest ideas are the best. These ideas help stimulate other useful and practical ideas later on.

Later you can use the affinity diagram. to sort out your ideas.

It is important to note that one of the fastest way to “kill” brainstorming is to judge ideas too quickly. Criticism puts a choke hold on allowing the Right Brain Left Brain Crossover to flourish.

Brainstorming Techniqes

Now, let's explore some powerful Brainstorming Tools.

Affinity Diagram

Affinity Diagram

The Affinity Diagram is a potent, flexible and easy to learn technique for sorting seemingly random ideas into naturally related groups. Although commonly used to sort ideas with groups, this tool is also excellent for individuals.

The Pareto Principle

Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle is an extremely powerful tool for investing your time wisely. The Pareto Principle shows the relative importance of things by charting them from left to right.

De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

De Bonos Six Hats

This is a strong problem solving tool created by Edward De Bono. It is used help you to look at issues from multiple view points. For this technique you wear various hats while thinking. These hats include: information, benefits, new ideas, feelings, agenda and barriers.

What if Questions

What if Questions

Asking What if Questions applies thought experiments to identify potential problems before they occur, not after. At times you will work backwards. With the knowledge from What if Questions you can to choose to prepare (or not) for different types of scenarios.

Mind Mapping


Mind maps are diagram that represents words, ideas, or tasks that feed into a central word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas. They are a powerful aid when problem solving, critical thinking, decision making and more.

Final Thoughts

These are some of the simplest Brainstorming Techniques and Tools that exist. But don't let that fool you. They are extremely powerful and can help you with a wide array of problems, projects and when making decisions.

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