In the beginning of our course we didn’t know what kind of game or toy we wanted to give a new meaning. The motto of the course was „Toys in an other context“. So the question was how to handle it.
For solving this issue there are a lot of good brainstorming techniques.

In some way brainstorming techniques are just a target-oriented way to find a good idea and to break through a deadlocked way of thinking. For good brainstorming you need to fulfill some conditions. It’s not just to sit down in a group in a closed room for about 60 minutes and the team will be bubbling over with ideas.

At fist the rules:

  1. Quality is better than Quantity

  2. Don’t rate the ideas

  3. It’s allowed to take an already established idea and modify it

  4. It is allowed to come up with something that might not yet be practical with the current level of technology.

That are the basics of brainstorming but there are a view things you will have to consider.

  • Have a mixed group with various backgrounds
    Most people prefer being in a group of people with the same background and the same thoughts. But for brainstorming it’s important to have various thoughts in every direction.

  • All members of the group have to be treated as equals
    Everybody has the same level of knowledge of the topic. Also there are no hierarchies.

  • Create a relaxed and stress-free atmosphere

  • Communication standards
    Actually it should be natural
    – to let the others finish speaking
    – not to attack the others verbal
    – to be friendly …

  • search for the right questions
    If you ask for A you will soon find everything about A, but is A really that what you was looking for?

  • Let the members sleep one night over it
    The brain will go on with brainstorming while we are sleeping. Now it’s important not to forget what you brainstormed at night 😉

OK, these were the basics. But what should we do when we are deadlocked in our thinking? If we always think about the same ideas? If we are blocked in our thinking and acting?

Also there are a few simple tricks to break through your pattern of thoughts.

  • make a journey through time
    What would you do if you had this task 100 years ago, or 10 years….?

  • transport yourself to an other place
    Of course only in your thoughts. What would you think of it if you would be in China, or in Russia…?

  • Be someone else
    What would you think of it, if you were a woman/man? If you had a different Age? …

  • Role reversal
    What would you think of if you were Einstein/ the Queen / Obama / Spiderman / … ?

  • Make a location plan
    Think of where you are just now (A), and where you want to go (B).
    Which different ways are between A and B?
    Which barriers you will have to overcome?
    Write down the individual steps in the right order!

  • Make a Mind Map of your thoughts

  • Everything is possible
    What would you do if everything would be possible? If you would have a endless amount of Money? Nothing is off-limits!

  • What would your favorite brand do?
    Nike/Coca Cola/ Nivea/ …

  • Serendipity
    Think of a random word and bring it in the context of the challenge. For example open a lexicon and choose a random word.

  • From A to Z
    Find a Idea for every letter.

  • The Opposite

    What would you think would be the completely wrong way to handle the problem? What would nobody imagine? What is standard and what is the opposite?

I hope my short introduction will help the following members of the course to find really new ideas;-)