Concept Wall

To start your collaborative brainstorming session, everyone writes or draws a few key concepts relating to the subject matter on sticky notes. Then put them up on the wall as stimulus for further brainstorming.

Role Up

Give each person in the group a role to play such as the customer, the rebel, the narrator, the joker, the sage, the CEO, the shareholder, the lunatic, etc. Then give a scenario involving the product, problem, or situation to role play.


Each person writes or draws a single idea per sticky note and puts it up on the wall in a separate room. Take turns nominating your favorite idea that wasn’t your own (and hasn’t yet been nominated) and explain why.

Heads In The Cloud

Rather than verbal collaboration, use a cloud-based service like Google Docs with open sharing permissions so everyone can anonymously collaborate, comment, and build on each other’s ideas. Create a copy of the doc at

Step Ladder

Everyone brainstorms individually. The first two people present ideas to each other. A third person is invited into the room to present their ideas. Repeat until everyone has presented unaffected by others’ ideas. Finally, recap all ideas for the group.

Diverse Inputs

Creative insights often arise from novel perspectives, so try to facilitate diverse group dynamics e.g. put engineers with designers, management with front-line staff, and so on.

Vote No To Bias

Our judgments are invariably shaped by our personal biases. So, it’s best to have discerning independent third parties evaluate anonymized ideas rather than a group vote.

Brain Writing

Everyone writes an idea on a piece of paper. Pass your piece of paper clockwise, the next person builds on the idea. Repeat until everyone has contributed to each other’s ideas.


Group brainstorming is often affected by social factors and confident voices thwarting more considered thinking. Familiarize yourself with common cognitive biases that can affect decision making, evaluation, and group dynamics at

Starburst Questions

Create a mind map star with six points for each of the classic analysis questions: Who, what, when, where, why, and how. Note that the ‘why’ is the most likely to provide relevant insight, and that the ‘how’ can sometimes be a distraction.