Here is a list of the brainstorming tools that I use. Some of them I designed myself. Most of them include examples for working with them, too.
- Aristotelian Questioning
This brainstorming method takes your main problem or challenge statement and absolutely questions it to death in the past, present, and in the future. You’ll come at it from all possible angles to find a new idea.
- Clearly Paradoxical
This brainstorming method aims to use paradoxes, usually defined as a statement that contradicts itself, to help address your challenge statement. They’ll really get your mental gears spinning. Make sure you’re ready for it!
- Chunk-Around Brainstorming (CAB)
This brainstorming method utilizes “chunking” up, down, and all around (or finding ‘meta-characteristics’) of existing items in order to find items that share similarities in other walks of life.
- Fruit Root Tree
This brainstorming method presents a fun and natural (har har!) way to take some drilled-down base characteristics of your issue, challenge, or problem and combines them into an idea-filled meal of possibilities.
- Idea Grid
This brainstorming method determines key characteristics or parameters of an item and then uses those to find ways to transform the item into something new. This can produce a lot of ideas very quickly.
- Lotus Blossom
This brainstorming method starts with a key issue or item, you find 8 main characteristics about it, and then find 8 sub-characteristics off of those. This method generates a lot of ideas.
- Modified Force Field Analysis
This brainstorming method takes your main goal or challenge and starts listing the essentials of it down the middle column you think it most aptly fits. Does it hinder or help your progress? Write down the positive and negative outcomes of each essential component and fix the problems!
- Opposite Questions
This brainstorming method gets you to think about a problem, challenge, or issue, figure out your assumptions about that issue, and then flip it completely around in order to see it from a different perspective. This method is great for getting “hidden gem” ideas.
- Quantum Linguistic Questions (QLQ)
This brainstorming method takes a problem, challenge, or issue and then rearranges the question into other very challenging structures. You’d be hard pressed to make it out of this method without a new perspective or two.
- S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Method (SCAMPER)
This tried and true brainstorming method helps you come up with a bunch of ideas: you substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to other uses, eliminate, and rearrange your challenge, problem, or item into a whole new idea.