Better Brainstorming – Tips and Tricks for Idea Generation

September 1, 2017

Eric Small

Sometimes an idea doesn’t just pop into your head. Maybe this problem isn’t something you automatically know how to react to. Perhaps you just have the dreaded creative block. Brainstorming is an important tool that people in a lot of industries rely on to solve problems and explore unique or atypical solutions. Here are some of the ways that we here at LLT Group brainstorm to get to better, more unique concepts. Some of these tips and tricks work especially well for the types of problems a creative agency needs to solve, others work for any industry. We think they work well, and hope that some of them will help you too.

Investigate how others solved a similar problem

Research is important. Maybe somebody else has already solved the problem for you! This could be great if your solution doesn’t need to be unique. If you’re generating unique content, you might need to see what everyone else has done to avoid unintentionally copying someone else’s concept. In this instance, it is also important to understand what trends exist for solving that problem to better distance your own solution from what’s been done before.

Write down keywords

What comes to your mind when you think of the problem you’re trying to solve? Write it down! Write all of it down. This will help you to get away from things you’ve already thought of and encourage new thoughts to expand your list. One of these keywords might end up sparking a new idea, a different angle, or a concept so simple that it was too obvious to notice. No idea is a bad idea in brainstorming. Write everything you think down. If you’re brainstorming with a group, write every idea that anyone says down. This might just unlock a new path of exploration for your problem solving process.

Get a group together

Two minds are better than one, and a room full can be even better! By bringing in extra minds, you can gather new perspectives on how the problem might be solved. Make sure that everyone is aware that no idea is a bad idea. Many people will dismiss an idea because they do not think it is good. It is important to encourage every thought to be brought to the brainstorm. One person’s half-baked keyword might spark a great idea in another member of the group. This can have a waterfall effect, generating ideas in multiple members of the brainstorm.

Word association

Take the keywords you’ve brainstormed and start branching out from each individual word. To hearken back to a previous point, write all of these down. Create a web of words, connecting them by the way the ideas were generated. By brainstorming off of a single keyword, you can focus in on one aspect of the problem at a time, potentially exploring concepts that might not have been immediately apparent when looking at the problem as a whole. This works especially well in groups because of the different life experiences of each participating individual. Connect related words from different portions of the web to examine the problem from a different perspective.

Get a different perspective

While we’ve explored one way to generate a different perspective in the point above, there are other ways of achieving the same goal. Think about yourself as the individual who needs the problem solved. Is there something you haven’t considered because of your own personal experience? Shift your perspective to someone else who might be experiencing the problem you are trying to solve. Is there something that might resonate with that individual? Manufacture potential individuals who might need this problem solved. What do they have in common? What are their differences? Maybe the problem needs to be solved in different ways for different individuals.

The rubber duck technique

If you’re working alone, the rubber duck technique might be the perfect thing to help you solve your problem.  All you need is a rubber duck, or a person to listen. The rubber duck technique comes from the world of debugging programming and code. To summarize, explaining the problem and potential solutions out loud to a rubber duck can help you realize issues or errors that you might not have realized without physically vocalizing your ideas. If you have someone who you can explain the problem and your solution to, the rubber duck isn’t required, but vocalizing your internal monologue can help you gain clarity about the problem at hand. Essentially, we’re saying that you need to say it out loud. We also recommend talking to designer toys, your own reflection, as well as your tech-illiterate mother.

Brainstorming is an important tool when it comes to problem solving. Every problem is different and requires a bit of ingenuity to solve. Sometimes the best solutions are the first thought that pops into your head. Most of the time, a bit of brainstorming can provide the appropriate exploration that leads to the best solution.

 

 

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