Let's brainstorm which direction to go

Brainstorm the right way

What is it particularly suitable for?

  • Find lots of ideas - quantity before quality
  • Simple questions, not complex problems
  • If a linguistic solution is required (names, slogans ...)

Why we love it

People don't think linearly, but spontaneously, impulsively and emotionally. This is exactly what brainstorming is based on. Done correctly, it works against competitiveness, differences in status and fear of embarrassment. It is relatively easy to do and mostly fun!


The basics are actually known to every presenter. Adhering to them forcefully is the key to success.

  • Before the session: relax. Avoid stress and (deadline) pressure with your participants. This can e.g. B. support the choice of words in your invitation email, a pleasant place or which date is chosen for the brainstorming.
  • Food for the brain: To start, you need a short but good knowledge base on the underlying problem and the current question. Don't go into too much detail. In particular, the participants may not even need to know the restrictions that apply to the topic. Sort out impossible suggestions later. It is better to allow time for questions.
  • The crux of the matter: Give the participants freedom by giving them rules.

    • Say it all, the more unusual the better. A "nonsense rate" of> 80% is completely normal for a good brainstorming session. The sieve comes later.
    • Let it go! The more ideas, the better. Just keep “producing”, even if your own ideas initially seem too obvious and banal. It's about getting in flow.
    • You dare! If something new is to come out, you have to go new ways.
    • No criticism! Add to and improve existing ideas. Instead of saying “no”, go along and think about how it could work differently.
  • Warm up: Creativity is outside of the comfort zone. Bring your participants a little beyond their limits. Sensitivity is required for the group here. An example: “Together you play two friends who haven't seen each other for a long time and who talk in a fantasy language.” And then let the group “babble” in duos. Important: You should really feel comfortable with the exercise yourself. Only then can you give helpful encouragement.
  • Triggering: the unfamiliar opens up new ways of thinking. Offer your participants a well-considered trigger for the subsequent brainstorming session. These can be pictures, stories, questions, objects, etc. One of our favorites: Building with Lego® in a customized way. It's playful, fun, stimulates completely different brain regions and is new and unfamiliar to many. -> Kills four birds with one stone.
  • Inspire and associate: Always the same methods lead to always the same ideas. Therefore alternate methods. Include the body (stand, sit, walk) and let different brain regions work (write with links, think aloud, paint) and alternate the composition (individual work, in small groups, all together). All ideas should be documented.
  • Evaluate ideas: Now you can judge, select and prioritize with appreciation. Stick to the attitude of “develop ideas instead of criticizing”.

Insider tips or "we think that's important"

Everyone evaluates constantly. From a biological point of view, this makes sense and is vital, but it is definitely the disruptive factor in brainstorming. As a moderator, you have the greatest influence: You already have a thousand reasons in your head why something doesn't work. But your participants shouldn't feel that! Even if they are impossible, you are happy about unusual ideas, then more of them will come of it! You can support the inner evaluator temporarily with a picture: “The inner evaluator is important and works around the clock. Send him on vacation to brainstorm so he can make good decisions afterwards. He deserves it. Right now he's just bothering you. "
Finding good triggers is an art and a method of its own. However, it is encouraging to think that if a trigger does not work, it is no big deal. Each group reacts differently. Simply make new offers in the next round.


  • While the others are talking, the participants are usually busy memorizing their ideas for later instead of thinking freely and brainstorming. The participants should internalize that it is a matter of letting their thoughts run free.
  • We repeat it again because it is so important: "Develop ideas instead of criticizing."
  • And last but not least: fun is welcome!

By the way: For better readability we change the gender form for each method.