Idea Techniques: 15 Innovative Activities to Do Single or as a Team

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We’re all familiar with traditional brainstorming as a way to produce brand new ideas. You sit in a room with a whiteboard and use whatever comes to mind. Maybe you play a few models of word association to strengthen your ideas, or pull up Google and use study to flesh all of them out.

Yet there are many alternative workouts for tackling issues and developing brand new ideas, both individually and in a group environment.

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Ranging from organized to silly, here are the best creative idea exercises and methods to help you get your problem-solving juices flowing. This particular list is a altered excerpt from the guide Creative Ideation for Digital Marketers: Theory to Practice.

1 . Storyboarding

Five panels on a pink storyboarding graphic for brainstorming

For anyone who is trying to design a process, storyboarding can help you observe where your collective understanding of a problem facilitates or conflicts having a proposed solution, and where more thought/research is needed. By developing a visual story to explore the problem as a story, your team will be able to see how ideas communicate and connect to form a solution.

Sticky notes are your friend. Take a couple of minutes to write out your tips as individual information. These don’t have to become complete thoughts — physically pinning upward quotes, pictures, consumer info, and the like may help you see new relationships between different components.

Once you have a group of sticky notes to work from, start arranging them on the board as being a progression: first this, then that. Arranging your ideas as a continuous series will help you find new connections plus eliminate extraneous materials that doesn’t support your end goal.

The reason why This Brainstorming Method Works

  • Storyboarding allows you to see your tips in a sequential design.
  • You’ll be able to see an overarching overview of a new or current process — without digging as well deeply into the details.
  • You can start through anywhere — the beginning, middle, or end — then fill in the blanks.

How to Use It in Marketing

Storyboarding is particularly useful for internet marketers. With it, you can:

  • Outline the continuous process of a advertising campaign from beginning to completion.
  • Improve an internal process such as backlink-building by drafting particular steps.
  • Storyboard a marketing video clip from beginning to end.

2 . Thoughts Mapping

Brain mapping is a fairly common term nowadays — in fact , a number of software provide automated mind-mapping templates so that you can better organize your computer data. Well, it also is undoubtedly a great way to organize your opinions.

  • To create a thoughts map for creativeness purposes, write down the task or problem you will absolutely trying to solve at the center of your idea sheet (feel liberated to do this on your computer, but whiteboards are ideal).
  • Then, increase on this problem simply by surrounding it with terms that better describe what you need. In case your problem is low site traffic, for example , some conditions to write around this phrase might be “organic traffic, ” “trusted content material, ” “SEO, inch and “video strategy. ”
  • As soon as your mind map has this first layer, add a second level to each of your requirements describing how you could possibly solve for these person challenges. Around “SEO, ” you might compose “topic clusters, ” “dedicated SEO strategist, ” and “video marketing course. inch

Keep contributing to your mind map utilizing the steps above until you’ve sufficiently separated your problem into workable parts. It’s a great problem-solving technique that will fosters creative solutions to subjects that may otherwise seem uninspiring.

Why This particular Brainstorming Technique Works

  • Mind umschlüsselung allows you to start from any point and create groupings of potential processes.
  • You don’t need to have an order in mind; you can prioritize later.
  • You can add a myriad of topically relevant ideas as you go; along with mind mapping, you never feel boxed-in.

How to Use It in Marketing

Within marketing, you can use thoughts mapping to solve problems, like in the instance above. You can also utilize it to:

  • Write content maps for the entire blog or website. You can begin by having an overarching topic, after that begin creating branches for each subtopic.
  • Come up with marketing campaign tips divided by major topics and subtopics.
  • Create Yes/No scenarios for putting different lead sections into specific get campaigns.

a few. Word Banking

If you assume “work banking” is a elegant term for “word association, ” well, you’re right. But in a word financial session, what you do with the words you develop is much more sophisticated.

While word associations often focus on sets of words, word banking asks you to definitely form big groups of terms that all describe just a few themes or topics. Creating phrase banks in a company setting can help you dismantle a project into workable parts — similar to a mind chart.

Then, when your work bank is complete, you can retroactively form connections between your terms you came up with, and use those people connections to art ideas that are going to include all of your most significant characteristics.

The reason why This Brainstorming Technique Works

  • Phrase association is a fairly natural, low-effort task — simply start with a big idea, after that begin jotting down something that comes up for you.
  • It doesn’t require you to know the when, precisely why, or how of an idea.
  • Term banking will surface area gasps in your information. If you find yourself stuck, it is time to complete additional research.

Using It in Advertising

Word financial is ideal for content projects and can be a precursor for more in-depth keyword research. Use term banking to:

  • Surface everything you learn about a topic you’re thinking of tackling in your weblog or website.
  • “Word vomit” blog post ideas without feeling boxed into a formal keyword research procedure.
  • Uncover to and your teammates may require additional training. For example, if you choose to start a term bank for “conversion rate optimization” and the term “A/B testing” never comes up, it could be time to sign everybody up for a CRO course.

4. S. C. A. M. P. Electronic. R.

Mobile device surrounded by pink icons showing the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. brainstorming technique

S. Chemical. A. M. P. E. R. is basically a process for expanding and improving on ideas by tests and questioning them from different sides. For each letter from the mnemonic, ask yourself a related question about your project or the problem at hand:

  • Substitute : What would happen to the project if we swapped X pertaining to Y?
  • Combine : What would happen to the task if we combined By and Y?
  • Adjust : What changes will have to be made to adapt this project to a different framework?
  • Modify : What can we modify to create more value about this project?
  • Put to an additional use : What other utilizes or applications might this project possess?
  • Eliminate : What can we remove from the project to simplify it?
  • Reverse : Just how could we reorganize this project to be able to more effective?

This method forces you to approach your project or problem in unexpected ways. Each question asks you to get a little deeper to the issue and consider new possibilities.

Why This Brainstorming Technique Works

  • S. C. A. M. P. Electronic. R. will get you to think beyond predefined assumptions about your own product or project.
  • The number of “would” and “could” questions let the mind run free along with minimal commitment to the actual change or even alteration.
  • It allows you to improve a procedure even if you believe the procedure has reached the optimal form.

How to Use It within Marketing

Whilst S. C. A. M. P. Electronic. R. might seem like a brainstorming activity with regard to product development teams, it could serve marketing teams just as well. Use it to:

  • Improve a present process — like keyword research or market research — by substituting, combining, plus adapting tasks.
  • Optimize the duplicate of a blog post or even campaign by making hypothetical changes which could improve the piece. These types of changes could make it easier to “template” the particular piece.
  • Create a drip campaign that effectively gets results in convert by modifying and substituting particular email messages.

five. S. W. Um. T. Analysis

Entrepreneurs and business leaders know precisely what a SWOT evaluation is. Well, it also happens to be a helpful brainstorming exercise.

S i9000. W. O. To. stands for Strengths, Weak points, Opportunities, and Dangers. When launching an organization, it’s your textbook starting point (literally — there isn’t a single business school textbook on the planet that doesn’t have a edition of it).

But while a company’s founder may use a SWOT analysis to create his or her business model, brainstormers can use the same diagram to better manage their ideas.

Your SWOT analysis doesn’t have to be all of that complicated when idea. In fact , it can basically be four content on a whiteboard in your average “shout this out” ideas meeting. When thinking of a brand new logo design, for instance, think about what you like most regarding your current logo (strengths). What do you hate about it (weaknesses)? Exactly what should it have more of (opportunities)? That which company logos for anyone who is mindful of (threats)?

Why This Brainstorming Technique Works

  • A S i9000. W. O. Big t analysis will efficiently put you within problem-solving mode before problems ever occur.
  • It takes into account competitive advantages and disadvantages — a consideration that often arrives long after brainstorming.
  • You’ll get a a lot more detailed and comprehensive overview of what can become improved.

How to Use It in Marketing

S. W. O. T analyses are typically used in company and entrepreneurship, but marketers can use this to:

  • Enhance a social or search engine campaign prior to launch and find out to may have opportunities or even be facing risks.
  • Create a much better project plan for clients by analyzing the project’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and dangers.
  • Audit an existing process within the group, such as handoffs in order to sales or article marketing.

6. Absolutely no Draft

Sheets of paper with lines of text showing the zero draft brainstorming technique

The Zero Draft is an ideation technique often utilized by writers and is essentially a form of focused free-writing. For marketers and agency professionals, it will help focus the first stages of a new project by establishing what you currently know and achieving your initial suggestions out of your brain and onto paper.

Taking your central concept or topic:

  • Write down everything you currently know about the subject.
  • Write down what you need or even want to know about the issue, but don’t presently know.
  • Think about why the subject is important.
  • Add whatever else that takes your own fancy — this is a chance to get whatever’s floating around in your head out there into the world.

The Zero Set up method is all about getting everything you can consider relating to your subject down on paper, therefore don’t be concerned if it looks messy plus unfocused. The goal is just to get past the initial block that plagues creative experts in the early stages of a new project.

Why This Idea Technique Works

  • The Zero Write method has minimal constraints while allowing you to make sense of your tips in coherent content.
  • It’s specifically a good fit for those who like to write their ideas down.
  • As opposed to a whiteboard session, Zero Creating allows you to document your ideas in a more permanent structure.

How to Use This in Marketing

Zero Drafting provides ample uses in marketing. Use it in order to:

  • Draft the blog post, article, or even page from start to finish without halting.
  • Create a first outline for a advertising video or video clip advertisement.
  • Map the sequence of a new client task or internal project.

7. Invert Brainstorming

In certain corporations and federal government entities, data security is the highest concern. So high, actually that these organizations have been known to hire cyber criminals — many of whom have committed internet crimes — in order to hack their systems and find out where the weak points are.

This particular “reverse” approach to safety, wherein you crack your own company, is considered one of the best ways to safe a server from intrusion. And for us, it’s the inspiration at the rear of this fourth idea technique.

If you reverse brainstorm, you essentially work to generate problems rather than options. “Why on Earth would you wish to accomplish that? ” you might inquire. Creating problems teaches you what not to achieve this you’re more intuitive to the needs of the project. Think of it like hacking your company to find out where the weaknesses are.

State, for example , you want to drive awareness to a cool product. As a marketer, you have many promotional stations at your disposal, but you how to start how to use them or where to start. In a reverse brainstorming session, you may come up with the following:

  • Avoid hyperlinks to the product’s purchase web page
  • Don’t tweet about the product
  • Criticize the popular features of your product

Obviously, these are every horrible ideas in case your goal is to advertise the product. But , take those reverse of these ideas, and you’ve successfully created three exceptional starting points for a supportive campaign: Link to the product in a series of blog posts, develop a Twitter campaign around the item, and identify specific features of the product that will prospects would be the majority of interested in reading or hearing about.

Why This Brainstorming Technique Works

  • Reverse brainstorming lets you know what to avoid from the get-go.
  • It is easier to start with what you should not to do rather than what to do — the latter of which can make all of us feel stuck.
  • It helps you avoid decision fatigue early on in the ideation process.

How to Use This in Marketing

As referenced over, you can use reverse brainstorming to come up with actions with regard to promoting a new product. You can also use it in order to:

  • Come up with the very best worst clients you can attract to your firm, which would tell you the types of leads you should pursue.
  • Generate the worst verbiage you could use in your advertisements, which would tell you the type of tone and text you should use in your promotions.
  • Outline what failure looks like for your team, which you could then use to come up with new goals plus objectives.

Have you been brainstorming with your group or team? Whilst all of the activities above could be used in a group setting, there are a few workouts that are made especially for groups. Let’s take a look at the ones you could use beneath.

Group Idea Techniques

1 ) Group Sketching

Pink drawing on piece of paper for group sketching

You don’t have to be an artist or a developer to benefit from painting. Visual thinking can help trigger and create ideas that conversation and writing might otherwise leave unturned. Similar to brain-writing, team sketching involves individuals building on every other’s ideas.

Each member of your team will draw an image related in a central way to an idea, idea, or subject you want to explore more. Each sketch is usually then passed to someone else, who drawings another related picture on the same piece of paper. This is repeated too many times around the group. The final images are after that reviewed and discussed with the aim of finding connections that individuals we hadn’t spotted on their own.

2 . Brain Netting

Creative workouts and ideas conferences always go better the more people you might have in the room. However, that means remote workers might not be solicited for their input as much as they should be. Brain netting may be the act of hooking up with folks electronically to make sure everyone may offer their input and feedback on a task.

Brain netting doesn’t just have to become a group phone call, even though. Company messaging systems like Slack are the perfect way to obtain everyone into a chatroom to spill their own ideas. As ideas are submitted, each chatroom member can vote for their favorites and combine the very best qualities of several concepts.

3 or more. Questioning Assumptions

Two presenters in pink outfits using a drawing board for questioning assumptions

We all carry assumptions with us — presumptions about what’s achievable, what isn’t feasible, what people want, what is going to work, and what will not likely. This exercise energies us to challenge these assumptions and put everything on the table.

Draw up a list of all the assumptions you can think of regarding your current project — true or not — and discuss record as a group, questioning each one of these. Doing this at different stages in your strategy development can spark fresh ideas, along with identify knowledge spaces.

4. Wanting

White horse next to pink unicorn to show the wishing technique for brainstorming

This technique encourages your team to let imaginations run wild. Ask individuals to dream up probably the most unattainable, extreme, and impractical solutions they can think of to a provided problem. Create a listing of a few dozen desires pertaining to the task at hand.

Focusing on a selection of wishes, consider plus discuss the ideas in detail, with the aim of triggering new yet more realistic ideas to pursue. What makes them so unattainable? How can that idea be scaled straight down? Which features of that will wish could we all integrate into this other approach? You may be surprised to discover appropriate, real-world solutions amongst your team’s wildest wishes.

five. Alter-Egos / Characters

Pink illustration of a super hero as part of a creative brainstorming exercise

This is a enjoyable exercise where little groups imagine how they would go about resolving a given problem if their team were directed by a famous personality, fictional or true. How would Kitty Woman go about positioning your brand as a thought leader in virtual reality? What would certainly Steve Jobs do to improve your newest communications package? How would Don Draper get your core messages across to millennials?

You can either choose someone you think embodies the right characteristics for the job to help develop your eyesight, or someone at the opposite end of the scale, to explore less conventional ideas.

6. Six Thinking Hats

There are a whole host of problem-solving exercises and tools that assist participants to put them selves into the shoes of another. This particular device was invented by Edward de Bono, a psychologist, writer, and consultant who also pioneered the method in his 1985 book Six Thinking Caps. The method involves wearing down ideas into 6 areas of thought:

  • Logic : The facts.
  • Optimism : The worth and the benefits.
  • Devil’s Counsel : The difficulties as well as the dangers.
  • Emotion : Emotions and intuitions.
  • Creativity : Possibilities and new ideas.
  • Management : Ensuring the rules of the hat are observed.

When approaching a new problem or project, have each member of your team placed on one of these different “hats” for the discussion. Each “hat” represents a distinctive set of priorities and perspectives that will help concentrate your discussion plus consider the project from the wide variety of angles.

For example , if you’re putting on the “Devil’s Advocate” hat, it’s your job to consider the project’s limitations and issues. It may feel uncomfortable at first to briefly adopt a very thin form of thinking, but the extremes can help groups fully explore task management.

7. Pushed Connections

Desk lamp plus banana equals question mark

This exercise involves bringing together ideas that function very different needs or even interests to form a new concept. You see this type of thinking all the time in products like the Apple Watch, the Swiss Army knife, smartphones, or even sofa bed frames.

To put this process into practice, bring a bag of random items to your next meeting, or set up two lists of unrelated items for the board. Ask associates to pick two or more products and explore different ways they can be connected. This technique can produce some foolish results, but it can ultimately a useful way of getting your team out of a creative mentality.

8. Brain-Writing

Sheet of paper with four people brain-writing during a brainstorming activity

In this workout, participants simply take note of a few rough suggestions for solving a specific problem on a piece of paper. Each bit of paper is then passed on to someone else, who reads this silently and adds their own ideas to the particular page. This process is repeated until people have had a chance to complement each original part of paper. The information can then be gathered, ready for discussion.

The big advantage of brain-writing is that it makes sure everyone is given a chance to have their thoughts plus ideas thoroughly regarded by the group. This particular avoids the loudest or most extroverted people unintentionally dominating the sessions.

For some teams, idea might come simply — they might have a process in place. Regarding other teams, it’s not as easy, even if they have a handful of activities these people know they’d like to use. Below, Ill cover how you can get the most out of your brainstorming session.

1 . Concentrate on quantity over high quality.

Brainstorming is focused on “vomiting” any and all tips you have — regardless of how silly they may appear. (And trust me, there are no silly tips in a brainstorming session. ) For that reason, do not worry about coming up with high quality ideas and instead focus on quantity.

Write down anything that you or your group have come up with. What may seem implausible at this point may be what your own team chooses in order to pursue later.

2 . Selectively apply constraints to keep the particular session focused.

While you should develop as many ideas as is possible, you shouldn’t operate all over the place, crossing topics that are irrelevant or even that are unattainable intended for various reasons. Consider creating budgetary constraints, establishing a schedule, and putting up guardrails that will keep your idea session in line with your own goals.

For example, if your budget for a brand new marketing campaign is $2, 000, but you know you don’t want to spend it on pay-per-click ads, you can spend your brainstorming power on various other avenues.

3. Don’t prune concepts as you brainstorm.

Resist the urge to prune ideas while you come up with them. Even if you think you’ve got a much better idea at hand, allow that old idea sit there — you might use it afterwards another project, or even in the second phase of your current task. Ideas that appear obsolete can also behave as guardrails later on.

4. Never finalize or commit throughout the brainstorming session.

When you get a great idea during your idea session, you might really feel tempted to commit to it and set it aside, then carry on brainstorming other ideas. The problem with that technique is that it limits a person considerably, because at this point you’re brainstorming around that one idea rather than brainstorming freely. Without knowing it, you’ll anchor your brainstorming upon that idea to make it come to fruition.

The goal of brainstorming, of course , is to finalize a single final concept. But until you’ve undertaken the concept from all of possible angles, don’t commit to a certain idea until you’ve organized all of the routes you could take.

5. Look to other sources to get inspiration.

If you get stuck, it is imperative to look at your competitors to get inspiration — especially in marketing. What are they doing that one could imitate? Which suggestions could you bounce from? Even the most productive brainstorming sessions can come to a halt on one point, and inspiration will go quite a distance in jumpstarting your own session again.

You might even print certain images, articles, and campaigns to help keep your team motivated as you work.

6. Use a whiteboard (and take images of each whiteboarding session).

Using a whiteboard might seem like the stereotypical brainstorming route, but it has its merits: It allows your team to get any ideas out within a seemingly impermanent method. No idea is too foolish to write on a whiteboard because you can easily remove it.

Of course , I wouldn’t recommend erasing your classes; take photos of your finished whiteboards to keep all of your ideas on record. Remember to set whiteboarding with a creative brainstorming exercise. Instead of writing “[Topic] Brainstorming Session” up top and letting anyone chime in, produce a chart for a Ersus. W. O. To analysis, or list different alter-egos in order to detail how they’d promote your product.

7. Take arrives.

If you want to remain productive during your brainstorming session, it’s imperative to take breaks. Let your team take a walk, scroll through social media, or go out to get a bite. Do idea in short bursts, or even do it in lengthy blocks. Whatever you do, schedule breaks for the team to ensure everyone’s minds are since clear as possible during the process.

Use Creative Brainstorming Techniques to Ideate Better

Traditional brainstorming is deceased. Your team no longer has to sit inside a circle in silence when you try to write tips on an empty whiteboard. Use the above exercises to come up with powerful marketing projects, advertisements, plus campaigns that enable your team as well as your company to grow much better.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published within November 2016 and has been updated designed for comprehensiveness.

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