Designing the World of Digital Experience

IDEO’s 7 Rules of Brainstorming

Brainstorm Rules

Photo Credit Jacob Bøtter Used under Creative Commons

As the new year approaches, many of us will start working in brainstorm sessions. Using a clear framework allows everyone the freedom to share and explore new ideas.


IDEOS’ 7 Rules of Brainstorming

Brainstorm inspiration from IDEO, “the award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations innovate and grow.”

1. Defer judgment
Creative spaces don’t judge. They let the ideas flow, so that people can build on each other and foster great ideas. You never know where a good idea is going to come from, the key is make everyone feel like they can say the idea on their mind and allow others to build on it.

2. Encourage wild ideas
Wild ideas can often give rise to creative leaps. In thinking about ideas that are wacky or out there we tend to think about what we really want without the constraints of technology or materials. We can then take those magical possibilities and perhaps invent new technologies to deliver them.

We say embrace the most out-of-the-box notions and build build build…

3. Build on the ideas of others
Being positive and building on the ideas of others take some skill. In conversation, we try to use and instead of but…

4. Stay focused on the topic
Try to keep the discussion on target, otherwise you can diverge beyond the scope of what we’re trying to design for.

5. One conversation at a time
There’s lots of conversations happening at once, which is great. But always think about the challenge topic and how this could apply.

6. Be visual
In live brainstorms we use colored markers to write on Post-its that are put on a wall. Nothing gets an idea across faster than drawing it. Doesn’t matter how terrible of a sketcher you are! It’s all about the idea behind your sketch. We love seeing photos, sketches, found images for your ideas. You could also try your hand at sketching it out or mocking it up on the computer. We love visual ideas as the images make them memorable.

Does someone else’s idea excite you? Maybe make them an image to go with their idea.

7. Go for quantity
Aim for as many new ideas as possible. In a good session, up to 100 ideas are generated in 60 minutes. Crank the ideas out quickly.


Inspiration from OpenIDEO: 7 Tips on Better Brainstorming

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS