Traditional brainstorming sessions tend to involve people shouting out their ideas while the leader writes them down on a whiteboard or computer screen. It works, but the idea can get a little stale, and it doesn’t always take advantage of everyone’s strengths.
At the same time, going overboard with creative alternatives can feel forced and tacky. Not everyone is comfortable deviating from the norm.
We’ve selected a few marketing brainstorming techniques that we think work really well for collaborative brainstorming. Give them a try!
The Craziest Problem
You already know that some of the best content comes from solving your customers’ problems, but what do you do when you’ve exhausted all of your ideas? Turn to sites like Answer the Public, Quora, or Reddit. These types of sites are filled with people asking questions about the problems they’re having.
You can turn this into a fun exercise, though, by challenging employees to find the craziest problem (relating to your business of course) they can. Offer a prize for the winning response.
Six Thinking Hats
The Six Thinking Hats idea was pioneered by Edward de Bono, and it could be a fun way to look at a problem or solution you have. Each person in the meeting wears a different “hat”. It could be an actual hat or just a sign in front of them showing their role for the meeting. The different colors serve different purposes:
- Blue: Uses logic and focuses on the facts.
- Yellow: Uses optimism and focuses on the benefits.
- Black: Plays the Devil’s advocate and focuses on the challenges.
- Red: Uses emotions and focuses on feelings and intuitions.
- Green: Uses creativity and focuses on the possibilities.
- Purple: Acts as management and focuses on following the rules.
If you have more than six people, you can have people double up on colors. This works well when you allow people to change their roles each time. Consider letting people know which hat they’ll be wearing before the meeting starts.
This idea is somewhat similar to a classic brainstorming method, but it allows introverts and quiet or shy employees to add their input without feeling overshadowed by the more enthusiastic people in the meeting.
Everyone is given a stack of Post-It notes. You set a timer for a few minutes, and during that time, everyone has to write down as many ideas as they can. Each idea gets its own Post-It note. When time’s up, people take turns saying all of their ideas — even the “bad” ones — and putting them up on the board. If an idea is repeated, those notes get grouped together. Ideas with multiple notes should get a bit of extra attention, as this may be the best path to take.
Some people are visual, and they’ll get more ideas if they see things in pictures rather than listening to co-workers blurt out ideas or seeing ideas written in list form. A collaborative tool like Mural might be a good way for workers to visualize things and work together. This particular tool allows you to draw and arrange ideas in creative ways. People can make comments and move items around.
However, there are plenty of other tools that might be a better fit for your team, such as Slack, MindMeister, or RealtimeBoard. These tools are especially nice for those who have remote teams.
Change Two Things
If you’re looking for content ideas for a blog or newsletter, just changing two things can help spark some additional ideas. The way this works is to take some of your previous pieces, but change two things in the title to create something new.
For instance, the title of this article is “Creative Brainstorming Ideas to Liven Up Your Topic Planning.” By changing two things, you might have “Boring Brainstorming Ideas that Will Kill Your Topic Planning” or “Online Brainstorming Tools to Liven Up Your Topic Planning.” Each of those ideas will have a different focus.
We’re sure that these collaborative brainstorming ideas will help your team generate a lot of new content ideas. Luckily, the writers here at WriterAccess are ready to tackle any topic.
Shannon T has been writing professionally for over 10 years. In addition to the thousands of articles, blog posts, and web pages she’s ghostwritten, she has bylined work that’s been published on sites like Headspace.com, ModernMom.com, Chron.com, and Fool.com (The Motley Fool).