How we come up with new ideas: brainstorming techniques

Here at Stanfy we experiment a lot with new ideas development. We try different formats of group work, when we need to develop concrete solution or reveal new possibilities, invent new application features, add some value to the Client’s business model etc. We’ve come a long way and tried many techniques. Here are several interesting and effective ones we’d like to share with you.

Venn diagram

It is a nice method to help you make decisions or find connections between creative idea and existing business. We use it to evaluate an idea and reveal new connections, which we then use to develop a mobile app concept.

This process involves drawing two intersecting circles. Title each circle with the name of the object you’re comparing. Fill the circle with traits that each object possesses, while filling the intersecting space with traits the two objects share.

The Crawford’s Slip Approach

This method is best applied for generating personal ideas in group. It may sound weird, but when there’s an issue needed to be developed in a group, you also need to manage the most active members’ voices – cause their ideas are not always the best ones. In Stanfy we use this method for inventing features for applications.

So, how to organize it: each person is given a stack or note-pad of at least 25 small slips of paper. Participants are told to write ideas of the required kind one per sheet, in any order. Organising participants to work in twos or threes (e.g. with others sitting near them), can help with stimulating ideas.

When writing has begun to slow down (usually 5 – 10 minutes) the note-pads are collected. Booklets are immediately divided up between the members of a team of helpers and sorted in agreed ways – e.g. by frequency of occurrence and/or feasibility. If a greater degree of sophisticated categorisation is required, then the categories will probably have to be pre-determined.

Here we described only 2 methods we use for creating and validating ideas. Though there are lot of techniques and we haven’t tried out all of them yet. We promise to experiment with them later on and share our experience with you :)

September 27, 2012