Brainstorming gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other. Since everybody has their own strengths, it’s easier to come up with amazing ideas as a team. The key is to use the right brainstorming techniques to be more effective and productive during your sessions. You can even use these techniques if you’re working remotely.
Some people aren’t comfortable being put on the spot. Instead of just talking about ideas or being asked to provide an idea, they come up with ideas individually first. Provide the topic and any relevant details. Then, ask everyone to write down all their ideas during a set time period. If you’re working remotely and in different time zones, you may want to provide a full 24 hours.
Once the time’s up, everyone shares their ideas with each other. Then, you can start discussing and even combining ideas to create the best process for your project.
If you’re doing this online, the technique is called brain netting. As long as you have a central place for everyone to submit and view each other’s ideas, you’re good to go with this technique.
While some of your more introverted team members may prefer other brainstorming techniques, the round robin technique does ensure everyone participates. As the name implies, each team member takes a turn contributing one idea. You go around the table or room (even if it’s virtual), recording ideas until everyone’s had a chance to contribute.
You and your team typically think about things from your own point of view. Changing points of view is one of the best brainstorming techniques for better understanding your target audience. For instance, a group of adults creating an app for kids will need to think like kids, not adults.
Provide prompts to help guide the team. For instance, ask them to think of the problem as if they were a small child or different race. You could even ask people to think from the perspective of different people, such as a boss or famous person.
Six Thinking Hats Method
The Six Thinking Hats technique is based off the book of the same name. It’s another type of POV brainstorming technique. However, it provides each team member with a specific role to play. You can easily alternate the roles to encourage a variety of ideas from different perspectives. The technique involves six different hats:
- Blue – Controls the process and encourages other hats
- Yellow – Provides optimistic viewpoints
- White – Gets ideas directly from past and current data
- Black – Looks at ways certain ideas may not work or what could go wrong
- Green – Thinks as creatively as possible
- Red – Looks at the situation from a more emotional standpoint
Not only is mind mapping an effective tool, but it’s also one of the more effective brainstorming techniques. Team members start with a central topic and then provide several main ideas. From there, you continue to branch off with sub-ideas. You can also list pros and cons of each idea to help narrow down ideas or create new sub-ideas that may work better.
Star bursting works a little differently than other brainstorming techniques. Instead of coming up with ideas, you and your team ask questions. You start with your topic or problem and then everyone asks questions related to it.
You then come up with innovative ideas by addressing those questions. As everyone provides answers, you get the solution for your problem or topic. It also helps you find any potential problems that may occur in your project.
If you’re brainstorming remotely with your team, it’s not always as easy as it would be in person. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea. Instead, you just need the right tools. If possible, opt for a video meeting so everyone can brainstorm together. Zoom and Google Meet both work well for this.
Next, an online whiteboard works well for documenting ideas for the entire team. Some free and low-cost options include:
- Whiteboard Fox – Free and works in your browser
- Conceptboard – Free option and paid plans starting at $6/month
- Ziteboard – Free option and premium plans start at $5/month, also includes video and chat tools
- Microsoft Whiteboard – Free and works with Microsoft Teams. too
Of course, team collaboration tools, such as Slack, also work well for brainstorming sessions. Many companies already use tools like this to better manage remote teams.