Not everything has to be organized and structured – have fun!

Are your ideation and brainstorming sessions mostly filled with people keeping to themselves while a select few contribute? Is it possible to have better ideation sessions? Let go of conventional idea generation techniques and try some fun, innovative ideation tactics to transform those good ideas into great ones.

Questioning Assumptions

Most industries have a set of unspoken values and beliefs that everyone follows in terms of how things are done within the industry. When you use questioning assumptions during all phases of the development of a product or service, you can better entertain new possibilities and ideas that may help you to overcome some of the worst-case-possible scenarios. Free yourself from conventional thoughts and assumptions.

To brainstorm by questioning assumptions, gather around 20 or 30 assumptions related to your industry (or the aforementioned “values and beliefs”). They need not be true. Pick some of the assumptions from the list and use them as a trigger for generating new ideas. Consider all aspects of your business, including product positioning, consumer beliefs, manufacturing, materials, pricing, and distribution.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a graphical ideation and brainstorming technique that makes participants visualize connections between different sets of information or ideas. This technique requires participants to write down each idea while connecting them by lines or curves to ideas or facts that are related. This technique is great because it makes it possible to share concepts and ideas while visualizing and framing information.

Ask participants to write a word or key phrase in the center of the page or board. Next, have them write anything they think of on the same page, encouraging them to later make connections.

Wishful Thinking

We have all had wishful thinking, sometimes scaling into the realm of the impossible in our thoughts. This is a great way to generate ideas for your company. Ask employees to reach to the impossible and brainstorm ways to make it happen. Step one is to make your wishes tangible then work with your team to create 20 to 30 wishes for your business. Encourage imaginations to run wild. Crazy ideas are good. Restricted thinking will not do anyone well in this exercise.

Next, focus on some of these impossible wishes and use them to generate ideas that are unique but more realistic. Have your team think about a problem you are focusing on or challenge them by offering different angles to ponder from. Role-playing can help this form of ideation and brainstorming to pull out even more great possibilities.

Worst Idea

Here is another fun technique that can bring out ideas when nothing else seems to work. It can also rekindle dropping energy levels when your team is reaching burnout.

To do this, ask your team to create a list of stupid, terrible, gross or illegal ideas. This will re-engage everyone while getting their spirits up with laughter. Once you have a list created, encourage your group to turn those ideas into good ideas by either pondering their opposite or looking for something in a bad idea that can inspire a good idea. This technique works really well because it often mentally disarms participants. Sometimes participants battle brainstorming blocks because they feel like they are under too much pressure and this technique helps to release some of that perceived negative pressure, enabling them to become truly creative.