Creativity Pathway #143: Throw A Brainstorming Bash

I’ve come to discover an all too common fallacy within our human thinking: that we must solve problems alone and must be careful to let no one discover that we don’t have all the answers. The truth is that, working alone, our solutions are then limited by our own narrow experiences, knowledge, and beliefs. And this decreases the possibility of uncovering the most profound ideas.

Instead of bearing the burden alone, why not let a carefully selected group of brains in on the process? Invite your “inner circle” over for a Brainstorming Bash to work through and brainstorm ideas, solutions, and thoughts with you. With your “team” in place, pose the question or problem and then begin to work together toward solutions. Here are a few processes that work especially well with a group:

1. Brain Writing Game. Each person receives 10 blank index cards upon which they record utterly implausible solutions, writing one per card. The cards are then put up on the wall. Other participants now have 5 minutes to silently read all the solutions and add their ideas for how they could be converted into a more practical way of solving the issue. Those new ideas are also placed on the wall. Each participant then has two votes (e.g., two sticky stars) to vote for what he/she now considers to be the most improbable idea on the numbered cards. Next, form two sub-groups, and, using the top 2 ideas, give each group 10 minutes to develop five viable solutions for the ideas. Each sub-group then tries to ‘sell’ their ideas to the other group. Lastly, everyone comes together and agrees on the best ideas overall. 

2. Mind Mapping. Layout a large sheet of paper. Record the question and/or topic in the center of the page. For each major sub-topic or cluster of material, start a new major branch from the central topic, and label it. Each sub-sub-topic or sub-cluster forms a subordinate branch to the appropriate main branch. Carry on in this way for ever finer sub-branches. It is also fun to use drawings instead of words to bring it to life. Check for a thesaurus-based version of a mind-mapping tool!

3. Group Drawing. Provide each participant with paper and a variety of tools, such as colored pencils, chalk, crayons and markers. Tell the participants they will have 10 minutes to draw the solution to the problem. Inform them that they can be literal or abstract with what they put on the page and to freely record whatever comes to them. After 10 minutes, have the group share their creations/solutions.

4. Idea Surge. Each person is given 10 blank sheets of paper. On each piece the person writes down ideas (one idea per sheet), and one-at-a-time passes the papers to the person on his/her right. The next person reads the idea, adds to it, and then passes the sheet on. Each sheet of paper is then passed around the circle and gathers an idea from each participant. If you have 10 participants, with 10 pieces of paper, you will have gathered 1000 ideas! 

Coaching Inquiries: Why are you trying to solve the problem alone? Who could you include on your Research and Development team? How could you turn your current challenge into a game? 

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services