Brainstorming is a method design teams use to generate ideas to solve clearly defined design problems. In controlled conditions and a free-thinking environment, teams approach a problem by such means as “How Might We” questions. They produce a vast array of ideas and draw links between them to find potential solutions.

Related methods and techniques to Brainstorming

  • Step Ladder

    1. Step Ladder

    A storyboard is a sequence of illustrations that are used to develop a story. Many businesses use storyboarding to understand and map customer experiences. The technique is instrumental for aligning your team, pitching an idea, understanding the customer journey, and much more.

  • Round Robin

    2. Round Robin

    The round robin technique starts by inviting one participant to share an idea. You then go around the group and have each person share an idea that builds off of the previous ones. Think of it as real-time improv — you say “yes, and” to an idea to build upon it as a group.

  • Mind Mapping

    3. Mind Mapping

    Mind mapping helps you diagram a collection of disparate thoughts. Using an organizational structure, you start by drawing a central node and then use lines, symbols, colors, images, and words to connect that node to other information.

  • Five Whys

    4. Five Whys

    The Five Whys is a framework for brainstorming the root of a problem. Fundamentally, the approach is simple: you ask why a given problem happened, and then you ask “why” four more times. It allows you to have a focused discussion so you don’t get distracted by other topics. Start with a problem statement, examine why that problem exists, then continue moving through each problem until you identify a core issue that you can act upon.

  • Six Thinking Hats

    5. Six Thinking Hats

    This method encourages you to wear different “hats” and think about a problem from various angles: thinking about the available data, using your intuition, looking at potentially negative outcomes, thinking about positive outcomes, looking at a problem creatively, and thinking about how to control a process. A template can be useful here because it helps you keep track of everyone’s “hats” for a particular problem.

  • Delphi

    6. Delphi

    With the Delphi Technique, there is no direct group interaction. The participants do not engage in conversation with each other, cannot discuss with each other and do not build on each other’s ideas, as is done in brainstorming.

    With the Delphi Technique, you gain insight into each other’s individual ideas and later, in the second session, you can delve into those and further build upon those. Whereas a brainstorming session is known for interactive group meetings, the Delphi Method involves individually thinking about the problem.