Brainstorming as a method requires a lot of activity. One´s creativity is fueled by the ideas of other participants and a “storm of thoughts“ is triggered. But like in any other creative process, one hits certain plateaus when the flow of ideas just ceases. Here are some ideas, how a brainstorming session can be put back on track:
Rolestorming is probably one of the best known and most fun ways of brainstorming. Everyone takes on the role of a famous person. How would this person behave in a brainstorming, which solutions would he propose? It does not matter whether it is a fictional character or a real person. Popular rolestorming characters are for example, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Albert Einstein, Rambo, the Pope, Forrest Gump, Steve Jobs, Gandhi, JFK, Paris Hilton, Barack Obama, Elvis Presley, Abraham Lincoln or Oprah Winfrey. There are no limitations to your imagination. And that is precisely what you wish to achieve!
We just shift the time about 500 years into the future. How would the question be answered by someone who has the technical possibilities of the year 2500? Just as well you can jump 100 years into the past. For stepping into another time, the brain needs to make certain adjustments. It needs to rethink everything it learned about what is possible and what is not. Loosing these barriers opens up new possibilities and the general attitude and openness is kept even you return to today.
A rather simple but no less effective method to refresh a brainstorming session is the presentation of inspiring pictures or short films. Movies and images for inspiration are freely available on the Internet, for example on YouTube and Flickr. Repeating the question while viewing the images or asking questions like “How will this picture solve the problem” or “What would we do in this situation with our problem” inspires to think in new ways.
For a moment, all participants pause and start thinking what would happen if you would do exactly the opposite the suggested ideas. Last but not least a fun activity, but especially a trigger to the broaden the horizon again. It is one of the most compelling ways to break up patterns of thinking.