What are your favorite ways to get creativity flowing for a brainstorm?

I work with a team that all know each other well and chat frequently, so we rarely need a traditional "icebreaker" to get brainstorm sessions started.

What we DO struggle with, however, is getting everyone into the creative headspace — the transition from thinking about everything else they have to do and grounding them in the time we have together. Often times our brainstorms end up being very tactical and discussions are focused on "how feasible is this idea?" and I'm hoping to guide the discussion in a more conceptual, open-minded direction.

Would love to hear your tips and tricks!


  • It can be hard to get together and say, "ok, ready, brainstorm RIGHT NOW." It's helpful to schedule a brainstorm ahead of time and have each team member bring 1 interesting piece of content (a quote, a podcast summary, a link to an article) that'll get thoughts a'brewin'. IMHO, it's a great way to kick off some interesting conversations and seed inspiration.

  • Christina
    Christina ✭✭✭✭


    That is a question I have had too, @kellylovestype, and this mild adaptation of a Mural template is a favorite.

    In the case here, the template is an introduction to 7 chapters of a book in which each chapter suggests something should happen. However, you can apply it to any meeting, as there are always goals the organizer has.

    By presenting each goal as a How Might We question. room is created for people to come up with their own ideas before being "fed" that of anyone else. It is worth it to give some thought to HMW wording to maximize the input in the Flare phase. In the Focus phase you can look for affinity clusters, and in the Call to Action section decide what to do and who's going to do it, etc.

    Results with this one have been excellent. Hope it helps!

  • Gino
    Gino Mural Alum ✭✭✭

    I sometimes like to do a "worst idea ever" brainstorm, and it is about as funny as you would think!

    What is great about making people brainstorm about the absolute worst solutions, is they aren't thinking about feasibility. You can then take those ideas, and challenge people to think of the exact opposite ideas, to flip it into a good idea!

  • lailavon
    lailavon Mural Team mod

    +1 to @Gino 's idea, "worst idea ever" is super fun.

    Another one I enjoyed in the past is getting images of some famous people on the mural and ask people to brainstorm ideas as if they were that person. For example, if Oprah Winfrey had to come up with an idea, she might bring in experts, a book, a TV show, etc into the solution.

    Another way is to do a round-robin in which one person starts with an idea (visualising it on a mural) and the next person has to build onto that idea by adding something else to the previous idea. It helps to create a storyboard in advance and duplicating the previous idea into the next frame each time.

  • ishyakay
    ishyakay EDU, Student Ambassador

    One thing that I would suggest is creating an environment in which nobody feels like there are any bad ideas. A lot of the time, people focus on feasibility before even sharing their thoughts because they do not want to make themselves look bad. If everyone is very welcoming and they all share any idea that pops into their head, it'll automatically create a more creative environment. Sometimes we cannot make sense of the best ideas but someone else can, but that teamwork cannot happen if we keep those ideas to ourselves!