Brainstorming is a great way to get the creative juices flowing to come up with new product ideas or solutions to problems.

During a brainstorming session, you have the ability to let the ideas flow without judgement. When most people think about brainstorming, mind maps are generally the first thing to come to mind, but there are many other ways to brainstorm. The key with brainstorming is to come up with as many ideas as you can. They don’t have to be quality ideas at this stage. Here are a few of the best ways to brainstorm.

Mind Map

Let’s start with one of the most popular methods of brainstorming: mind maps.

With mind mapping, also sometimes called webbing, the key idea or problem is placed in the middle of a piece of paper and any related ideas are written around the central thought. As patterns begin to emerge, sub-ideas can be grouped into categories and further explored. Grouping ideas into sub-themes as you go can help keep your thoughts organized.

Freehand Writing

Sometimes when you’re stuck on something, you just need to take ten minutes to write about it. Writing about the first thing that comes to mind is a great way to clear your head and, while your freehand writing may not be directly related to the problem you’re trying to solve, you will definitely find yourself in a better headspace after taking ten minutes to write. You might be surprised what you will discover from trying this exercise.

Rapid Ideation

This brainstorming technique is done with a time limit so ideas are generated quickly and without filtering. The idea is to get as many thoughts down in the time limit as possible. You can use pen and paper, a whiteboard, sticky notes, whatever you and your team decide. Typical rapid ideation sessions last anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes.

Pro/Con List

If you have two alternatives you are trying to choose between, a pro/con list works great for helping you decide which alternative is the best choice. Try and think of all the possible positives and negatives for each alternative no matter how trivial they may seem. Once you’ve exhausted your list and reviewed it, one alternative should emerge as the clear winner.

The key with any brainstorming method is not to audit yourself as your brainstorming. Save that step for later. During the brainstorming process, you want to let the ideas flow freely, no matter how crazy they seem at the time. Then, when you’re done brainstorming, you can look back over your information and start to weed things out.

Brainstorming great product ideas or solutions to existing problems can be fun and easy with the right techniques. Whether you’re looking for new ideas or trying to decide what idea to focus on, mind mapping, freehand writing, rapid ideation, and pro/con lists can be a huge help.

Once the brainstorming is complete, Pivot International provides a number of services, from product design and development to global and domestic manufacturing, to help you with the next steps. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get your ideas out into the world.