3 Great Ways to Brainstorm

March 9, 2017

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We have all heard the story about the brilliant idea that was written on the back of a napkin, and we all know that an important part of coming up with a new idea is the brainstorm: developing it from the very first moment it occurs to you to the point where it becomes something tangible and great. But sometimes this process can be really challenging! Let’s take a look at some well-proven techniques to help you brainstorm!

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Mainly, brainstorming techniques advice one of three things: change your perspective, physically map out a solution, or alter your thinking for better results.  Here, we look at some of the more popular techniques within these categories, to help keep your gears running if you’re ever stuck.

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If You’re Stuck: Change Your Perspective

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Many brainstorming techniques prompt you to imagine yourself and the challenge you are facing in a totally different scenario (maybe you are someone else, or from a different time). The hope is that this will allow you to change your perspective, and help you think of a new way to tackle the problem. Here are some great examples:

  1. Figuring Storming: Imagine yourself as someone else. How would your parent, idol, or boss handle this situation? How would the best product engineer in the world build your prototype? How would the best marketer in the world market your product?
  2. Changing your attributes: If there was even one single thing about yourself that was different, would you approach this project in a different way? If you are a man, do you think a female version of yourself would know what to do next? What if you were a different age, race, nationality, had a different intellect? How would you approach the problem then?
  3. Teleporting Storming: Imagine another you is looking at this same problem from a different point in time or from a different place on earth. Would this change anything? Would an older, wiser you have a better perspective on whether or not to move forward with your product design?
  4. Super-you: Imagine you have any superpower. Would this give you an easy solution to your challenge? How? How can you achieve this on a realistic, human scale?
  5. Literally, Ask Someone Else: Sometimes talking things out with others can help get your ideas back in order, or they may come up with a great suggestion for you! Focus groups or group brainstorming sessions can bring great results!

 

If You’re Stuck: Map It Out

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Brainstorming can often involve physically writing things down or mapping them out to process & fine tune them. These are some classic approaches to master brainstorming. We made some Make48 Brainstorming Worksheets that give you templates of the following techniques to help you along your next project! 

 

  1. Mind the Gap: Think about where you are now (Point A) and your final goal (Point Z). Now, write down all the steps you will need to take to get there.
  2. Mind Mapping: This may take you back to elementary days! Write your main goal in the middle of a sheet of paper, and start branching out subcategories of thoughts and ideas that arise from there. This is really effective to combat writer’s block!
  3. Blind Writing: Seriously, just write. Write down all of your thoughts, even verbatim, even if they seem unimportant. This is a great way to get your thoughts flowing!
  4. SWOT: Consider the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your situation. This should get you to consider the issue from different perspectives.

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If You’re Stuck: Change your Thinking

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  1. Play Devil’s Advocate: Question every aspect of your idea. If you are designing a product, think to yourself, why are you designing it in that category? With those materials? For that audience? In that color? These questions can often generate some good thoughts.
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  2. Reverse thinking: Try doing the exact opposite of what you think you should do next
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  3. Resources: What if you had unlimited resources and resources were not an issue? Would this solve your problem? If so, how can you overcome this obstacle?
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  4. Random stimuli: Try doing things totally unrelated to your project. See if different images or words inspire any new ideas or ways of thinking about your product.
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  5. Meditate: Meditation could be the answer! Try to clear your mind for 30 minutes, and see if this active emptying of your brain sheds light on something new. A powerful technique.
  6. Make a List: Write down a 101-item list of all the relevant ideas you have on this topic. Somewhere along the way, a solution may come up!

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Brainstorming is one of the most crucial stages we see competitors go through during the thrilling 48 hours of a Make48 event. This process will lay the foundation for the entire invent-a-thon! A winning idea may be born in a group brainstorming session and carry a team all the way through to the end.

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Think you’ve got what it takes to be on the next season the Make48 TV series? Apply now! We welcome competitors of all ages and experience levels (including none!).