Technique 1: Brainwriting
This is a quick and simple brainstorming technique. You can brainwrite alone or in a group.
* Take a sheet of paper.
* Jot down as many solutions as possible in 10 minutes.
* Every idea is good so write down everything. Donâ€™t judge anything yet.
Technique 2: Refining
Refining is a quick and easy technique if you want to change something about a product or service. Use it alone or in a group.
Ask yourself the following seven questions about your product or service.
* Can we replace our product or a part of it? (Substitution)
* Can we make new combinations? (Combining)
* Can we give the product a different composition, turn it upside down or rearrange the order? (Rearranging)
* Can we change the shape of our product, give it a different colour or change the time slot? (Adjusting)
* Can we enlarge the product? Make it lighter? Offer it more often? (Enlarge)
* Can we leave out certain parts or functions? ( Elimination)
* Can we give our product a new purpose or create a new target group? (New use)
Technique 3: Negative brainstorm
A negative technique with positive results: this â€˜upside-down brainstormâ€™ is easy to do either alone or in a group.
* Work on an issue until you utterly and truly run out of ideas.
* Then come up with as many reasons as possible why the problem canâ€™t be solved.
* Keep on going. Use your imagination and exaggerate.
* Turn each reason around. Ask yourself how it could be possible. Create opportunities instead of obstacles.
Technique 4: Flower association
Flower association is a slightly more difficult yet extremely useful brainstorming technique. It allows you to distance yourself from the problem, providing room for creativity.
* In the middle of a large sheet of paper, write down the most important word concerning the issue at hand.
* Begin associating and arrange the new ideas around the word like flower petals.
* Use the new words as a second starting point for more associations. Continue as long as you want.
* Choose one word as inspiration to find new solutions to your problem.
* Repeat this with the other words.
Technique 5: Inspired by nature
This brainstorming technique is slightly more difficult, but it is quite a good one. Itâ€™s also an excellent technique to encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Best in a group.
* On a big piece of paper, write the name of an animal -- any animal.
* Jot down 8 to 10 words that you associate with that animal.
* Choose one of the words. Use this word as inspiration to find new solutions to your problem.
Technique 6: The super hero
A super hero not only rescues people in trouble, he or she can also help you brainstorm. This technique requires a great deal of imagination, but once youâ€™ve got it down it is a sure way to eliminate the most stubborn thought patterns.
* Think of a hero or heroine.
* What are the special characteristics of this hero or heroine?
* How would the hero or heroine tackle this problem? Use your imagination!
* Translate the suggestions into concrete solutions for your problem.
Technique 7: Matec (Matrice dâ€™Eloignement Creatif/Creative ideas matrix)
Matec is quite a difficult brainstorming technique. Particularly suitable for tough issues, this technique moves you gradually further and further away from your problem.
* Select two nouns from the problem definition.
* Take the first word and associate a row of five words.
* Then associate a column with four words from each of the five words. This is called a â€˜matrixâ€™.
* Make another matrix for the second noun.
* Select one word from each matrix. Opt for words with a strong visual impact.
* Find five to eight common characteristics for both words.
* Create new solutions for your problem keeping the common characteristics in mind.
Technique 8: Quick storm
* Choose two key words from your problem formulation.
* Make a list of 10 specific characteristics for each word.
* Combine associations from one list with the other.
* Think up new ideas from here.
Technique 9: Strange objects
This creative technique takes brainstormers far away from the problem. Creative solutions are practically guaranteed. An easy technique to apply to new product brainstorms, it is best to wait until the middle or end of the session â€“ otherwise, the more rational thinkers might be put off.
* Divide the participants into pairs.
* Give each pair a completely random object that has nothing to do with the formulated problem.
* The participants study the object and write down two characteristics.
* Use the characteristics as inspiration for new solutions to your question or problem.
* Write down all the various solutions on a flip chart.
Tip: Itâ€™s easy to put together a box of â€˜strange objectsâ€™. Go to a shop that sells household items and pick every third product that you see on a shelf. Within ten minutes, you will easily have acquired a box full of â€˜strange objectsâ€™.
Technique 10: GPS for Businesses
GPS for Businesses is a methodology structured to create lots of ideas in a short time. You will see how your company or organisation can react to trends and developments. Click here for more info.