5 Out-of-the-Box Brainstorming Techniques

When your typical brainstorming sessions fall flat, it may be time to start thinking outside the box to spark new ideas and gain a fresh perspective. Here are five tips to refresh your brainstorming efforts and help your team approach solutions to tricky problems with an offbeat way of thinking.

Improv Role Play
Short for improvisation, improv is an acting technique that involves developing spontaneous scenes without a script and requires a lot of quick thinking and teamwork. During brainstorming, try to improv a scene where you and your team act out the parts of your customers. Or, you could go in a wacky direction and improv a scene as a caveman using your product. Either way, improv will force you to think quickly without filtering your thoughts – which could lead to a new idea you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. 

Opposite Day
Sometimes the best way to find the right answer to a problem is to think about the wrong answer. For example, if you’re brainstorming ways to get your customers to use a new product, think about all the ways they shouldn’t use it. Many times when you take a look at a situation from the other side, it will open up a whole new realm of thinking about the product/item.

Scrabble Bag It
Everyone has an old Scrabble game tucked away in a closet somewhere that hasn’t seen the light of day in years. Why not repurpose those little letter tiles for brainstorming? Have each person in your team grab a handful and then try to spell out words or sentences using only the letters they grabbed. Or maybe each tile stands for the first letter in a word that makes up a sentence or headline. There are limitless variations and word combos – one of which could be your next industry-defining idea.

Ask An Outsider
The best insight to a problem you’ve spent endless hours thinking about could very easily come from someone who knows nothing about it. Try bringing in a complete outsider to help shed new light on a particular topic or project. The fresh perspective could help highlight some aspects you have overlooked or spur new ideas based on feedback from a new set of eyes.

No Holds Barred
In this scenario, the only limit is your imagination. Think about the problem you’re brainstorming as if there were absolutely no rules. What if gravity stopped working, or pigs actually did learn how to fly? Maybe a project has an infinite budget or limitless resources. Basically, think about the absolute perfect circumstances and start working backward until you hit the point where fantasy could actually become reality.

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