How to conduct successful brainstorming sessions

Torresburriel Estudio
3 min readJul 26, 2023

One of the quintessential methodologies to come up with creative and innovative solutions is brainstorming. This technique relies on the interaction of team members with the goal of generating new ideas to address a specific problem.

Photo by MING Labs on Unsplash

The purpose is to produce a large quantity of ideas, which can then be accepted or rejected, allowing the team to work further on the chosen ones. The key is to understand that there are no good or bad ideas; it is an exercise in creativity to discover alternative solutions beyond what we might initially consider.

Types of brainstorming or idea generation

There are different typologies of brainstorming, and depending on the challenge we are facing and the characteristics of our team, we can use one or another. Here are some of the most common typologies that you can put into practice:

  • Direct brainstorming: This is the classic brainstorming method and allows the creative development of the team.
  • Reverse brainstorming: In this case, you propose ideas contrary to what you actually want, and then the negative aspects are transformed into positive ones.
  • Mind mapping: The methodology is similar to the classic brainstorming, but afterward, a mind map is created to visualize the relationships between ideas.
  • Role storming: This involves solving a particular situation or problem from the perspective of another person, with the aim of generating new ideas from this new viewpoint.

5 steps to make brainstorming sessions successful

To make the most out of our brainstorming sessions, the first step comes before the actual session and involves planning how it will be conducted. These are the steps we need to follow:

  1. Prepare and plan the session in advance
  2. Create a pleasant environment and manage participants’ expectations
  3. Generate ideas
  4. Share the results
  5. Follow up on the outcomes

The first step is to ensure that the team that will be part of the brainstorming session knows the reason for its occurrence. Additionally, we must plan how we are going to conduct the session to have everything prepared. We need to establish the context and provide the necessary materials so that participants can prepare for the session.

One key factor for a successful brainstorming session is to have participants enthusiastic about taking part. It is highly recommended to start with an ice-breaking activity to create a more pleasant atmosphere within the group. For this purpose, we can carry out a series of exercises to energize the online session and create a relaxed environment that fosters participation and communication.

In this initial phase, it is also crucial to set up a set of rules so that everyone knows how to act, as well as to clarify the objectives and expectations of the session.

Once everyone is clear about why and how we are going to conduct the brainstorming session, it’s time to generate ideas. For this, we can use tools like Mural or Figma, which allow us to work collaboratively.

To encourage participation, we can implement a system of small rewards to motivate the team and make the session more engaging.

If you want to learn how to understand users, don’t miss out on our Specialization Program in Advanced UX Research (this training is in spanish):

Programa de Especialización en Research Avanzado

After the phase of proposing all the ideas is complete, we need to delve into them to choose which ones we can move forward with. We don’t have to take every idea literally, but they can help us find the solution we need.

After concluding the session, we should create a document to gather all the proposed ideas and the ones that have been initiated, so that the entire team is aligned with the selected concepts. Additionally, we can schedule a follow-up session when the project is more advanced, allowing all participants to see that the chosen idea or ideas have indeed been implemented.

Brainstorming sessions are a fantastic resource for generating creative and innovative ideas, and they also foster teamwork. It’s essential to create the appropriate environment to ensure their success.

--

--

Torresburriel Estudio

User Experience & User Research agency focused on services and digital products. Proud member of @UXalliance