Teams brainstorm ideas for the possible use of a specific item. It could be anything: a shopping bag, bandana, paper clip etc. The bottom line is that each team brainstorms about the same object. This is a competition, the quantity of ideas counts!
This is a great warm up before a serious brainstorming session. It can also serve as a separate energiser when your group needs to have a break or some fun for a moment. We use this activity when we notice a decrease in the energy level or engagement while doing creativity work.
- Divide the group into at least two smaller teams. Each team should consist of at least 2 and up to 8 people.
- Give the following verbal instructions:
- It’s a competition to come up with as many applications as possible for this item (show the item now).
- It’s the quantity of ideas that counts, not the quality.
- The team with the most ideas will win.
- You must also be able to present each idea, showing how it works in practice.
- Work with the whole team.
- Remember the basic rules of brainstorming:
- you don’t judge ideas,
- you don’t criticize,
- you develop other people’s ideas,
- ‘crazy’ ideas are very much appreciated
- Ask if there are any questions. If not, give them 12 minutes for brainstorming
- After that time let them finish writing the last idea.
- Invite groups to present their results. Every group shows one idea in a round, take as many rounds as you need. Sometimes there are so many ideas that after 15 minutes of a presentation you’ll have to conclude to keep the course timetable.
Here are some photos from a Brainstorming Energizer session using shopping bags:
The following questions might be useful:
- Was it easy / difficult to come up with this number of ideas?
- What supported your brainstorming session/ what kind of behavior was stimulating/limiting?
- What would be your advice for effective brainstorming?
We recommend this short video on brainstorming session carried out by IDEO experts:
30′ (for up to 20 participants, larger group will need more time)
- Brainstorming object, one identical subject for each group, e.g: shopping bag, bandana, scarf, paper clip, tennis ball etc (sky is the limit :-))
- Piece of paper and pens for each group – for writing down each idea group come up with
Elevated energy, good atmosphere, readiness for brainstorming or other creative work