Research – Creative Brainstorm (Janaki van Os)

What are creative ways to brainstorm?

To come up with better concepts I want to research different ways of brainstorming and chose the best ones to apply with the group.

  • A brainstorm where everyone writes their ideas on little post its and sticks it on the big piece of paper lying the middle of the table.
  • Making a word association map with a word in the middle of the paper and every one of the group receives a pen and writes down their associations with this word.

These brainstorms are known as ‘normal’ brainstorms. Where you simply think of ideas. The creative brainstorm techniques we learnt in the lateral thinking lessons are as followed.

Lateral thinking

In our lateral thinking class, we learnt different brainstorming techniques. It came down to two different techniques. One of thinking ‘inside the box’ and the other thinking ‘outside the box’. The thinking inside the box techniques were:

  • 9 inbox tools
    • remove – leave something out
    • replace
    • multiply
    • connect – combine it with something else
    • divide – separate or divide
    • activate – unused parts
    • make dynamic – loosen/release fixed parts and fasten loose parts
    • rearrange – rearrange parts or aspects
    • different versions

Harvesting ideas
By harvesting all the ideas, you get an overview of the different types of ideas. This will allow you to see new things and to determine what a concept is and what is a specific idea.

  • Concepts – a concept is a principle behind an idea. It’s like an umbrella. Ideas that come from the same source. This concept leads to new ideas. Wonder which themes are to be found in the idea.
  • Initial ideas – these are ideas that aren’t yet ready-to-go (and may be they never will) but they are different, valuable and/or interesting. An initial idea can be enriched later on to a usable idea. If the idea still need research to see if it’s possible it’s an initial idea.
  • Specific ideas – these ideas are practical and directly applicable. By enriching they can even be made more fun or more appropriate.

enrich them ->

  • Transform and/or adjust the situation or the idea
    Use this in if there are too many restrictions, for instance if there is not enough money available. You will see to it that there is going to be more budget.)
  • Enhance the idea
    You use this if the idea has advantages but is not powerful enough to persuade the client. It can come in handy to figure out who are the parties concerned and make the idea better for them)
  • Adjust minus points
    An idea can also be more persuasive by adjusting flaws or weakness)

Outside the box thinking tools were the arbitrary word starting point exercise where you ask someone (or do it yourself) pick a random word. And then write down all the associations, functions, characterizations and memories you can think of with that word. You can have a piece of paper with a lot more words than that you started with. With the words, you wrote down with the associations, functions, characterizations and memories you can than connect back you the problem focus you have at hand. This way you might think of completely new words and connections that would have never occurred to you in the first place.

Universal Methods of Design

For this research, I used the book Universal Methods of Design. In this are 100 methods to design your concept.

Bodystorming is a physical brainstorming technique. It is done by informative performances and active role-play.

Ways to enrich creativity

There are different ways to help your brain think in a creative way and to come up with new and different ideas. These are

  • change of environment
  • music
  • under influence

Our brains get lazy when we get used to certain environments, because you have seen them before and your brain doesn’t register them anymore. When going to a new environment your brain gets active again. Since it has to register all these things it has never seen before. It’s also been proven that different types of music has different effects on our brain. Like classical music helps us to study and music that has the same number of beats as our heart helps us to be active when doing sports. Now some people say that using certain drugs can enhance your creativity. But that is of course the most recommended way to be creative.

After finding these brainstorm methods I decided that it would be best if all of us came up with ten different concepts on our own, so that you could get the most obvious ideas out of your head and that you had the opportunity to think about it without the pressure of other people. Then I chose to apply the normal brainstorms to use the way that we are used to. I also prepared the arbitrary word brainstorm to compare the different brainstorm.


Martin, B., & Hanington, B. (2012). Universal Methods of Design (Herz. ed.). Beverly, USA: Rockport Publishers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s