Brainstorming: One Tool to Generate Mind-Blowing Ideas

David - About Business - September 21, 2020

You're all talking about it. But trust me, you've got no idea what a proper brainstorming session is. See, brainstorming isn't just throwing ideas that go well together during a team meeting. Brainstorming is a business tool that you can use both alone and as a team.

It is extremely useful for finding new ideas, concepts, and approaches to a given problem. But it's got specific rules that you must follow if you want to get the best out of every single session.

In this article, I'll teach you how to run an effective brainstorming session, and give you a practical example so you can better comprehend what it's all about.

Brainstorming: One Tool to Generate Mind-Blowing Ideas - Illustration - Picture

How to Run a Brainstorming Session

Here's how to run a proper brainstorming session, and get the most out of it:

  1. Prepare: Gather your team together, or just find a quiet place for yourself if you intend to brainstorm alone. Then get as many sheets of paper as you need, based on the number of problems that you'd like to tackle during that session. Preferably use one sheet per topic. Finally, get a pen.

  2. Define: What's the topic of this brainstorming session? What would you like to solve? What are you having issues with? What would you like to find an innovative solution to? In other words, find the main topic of that brainstorming session. Once you're done, write it down at the center of your sheet of paper.

  3. Brainstorming: One Tool to Generate Mind-Blowing Ideas - Illustration - Brainstorming Session about Animals - Main topic defined
    Brainstorming Session about Animals - Main topic defined
  4. List: Take each participant, and ask them one word that is related to the main topic. It can be absolutely anything as long as it's related to the main topic. Don't hesitate to go wild about it, and speak your mind. Write every new word around the main topic, and stop when you went through all the participants. If you're alone, go for 6 related ideas. It's a good number to start with. Just keep in mind that there ain't no perfect number.

  5. Brainstorming: One Tool to Generate Mind-Blowing Ideas - Illustration - Brainstorming Session about Animals - Related topics listed
    Brainstorming Session about Animals - Related topics listed
  6. List again: Do exactly what you did during the previous step, using all the related ideas that were given back then. Once again, don't hesitate to say what goes through your mind even if it seems out of topic.

  7. Brainstorming: One Tool to Generate Mind-Blowing Ideas - Illustration - Brainstorming Session about Animals - Related subtopics listed
    Brainstorming Session about Animals - Related subtopics listed
  8. Pick two people, and make a combination: Ask for a random number to the first person. Each number goes from 1 to the number of topics you've listed so far. Once you have that first number, pick the topic that it represents. Then ask for another number to another person. That second number determines the subtopic associated with the previous randomly-picked one. Once you're done, you have one topic to start with. Repeat this step one more time, and then you have two topics.

  9. Work on that combination: No matter what, you must use that random combination as a starting point. In the beginning, it may feel silly, and the two topics that were brought together might not work well together at all. Who cares? Force yourself to work on that, and you'll be impressed. That will boost your creativity and help you come up with a whole different approach. Just make the effort to explore that combination.

That is what brainstorming actually is, and how to run a proper brainstorming session.

Brainstorming: One Tool to Generate Mind-Blowing Ideas - Illustration - Picture

What Makes Brainstorming So Powerful

Here's an idea that was born while brainstorming. The combination we had was: "Music and Forest". And the goal was to come up with an innovative mobile application to play music on a smartphone. In other words, we had to imagine a new way to consume music on our smartphones, and it had to be better than Spotify.

In the beginning, everyone laughed. I mean, what are we supposed to do? Play music in a forest?

And this is how we thought about spreading Bluetooth devices in a forest. Our idea was to drop emitters on several trees. And when the user would come by one of these, their smartphone would receive the data from the Bluetooth devices, and automatically play a specific track.

For some reason, that wasn't feasible at our level, and not really eco-friendly. So we tried another combination. Little did we know about "Street and Clans", but we kept working on that combination no matter what.

And I'm proud to tell you, we had a great idea that still doesn't exist. We wanted to design a music player that works thanks to geolocation. Each street or set of streets has a musical style, and when a user enters one of these, the musical style changes. In other words, we wanted to give each city a musical identity based on the streets, places, and other urban infrastructures. That would help our potential customers visit a city using their ears instead of their eyes.

To this day, I still believe that these two ideas are actually wonderful and quite creative. And that was all thanks to our brainstorming sessions.

Long story short, brainstorming helps you think out of the box.

Brainstorming: One Tool to Generate Mind-Blowing Ideas - Illustration - Picture

Additional Resources

Interested in optimizing your processes and having more tools for your business? These articles will come handy:

Planning Poker: One Tool to Better Estimate Task Durations

Planning Poker: One Tool to Better Estimate Task Durations

Business Cards For Beginners: The Complete Guide (2020)

Business Basics: How to Price Your Product or Service

7 Working Techniques to Get Your First Customers

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