The ability to brainstorm is very important in your academic work but also in your daily and creative life. Brainstorming is used in almost every project here at the TU/e, brainstorming could be done in a group or alone. When using a brainstorming technique, you will let your brain roam freely and generates creative ideas and solutions. Here, different brainstorming techniques will be discussed.

  1. Brainwriting: 

Broadly formulate your subject and write it down on a piece of paper (or a white/black board). Take 5-10 minutes to write down every idea you (and your groupmates) get. After the initial brainwriting, you take time to read all the ideas. You can add information and alternatives to your ideas. In the last step, you’ll select the best ideas (chose a few 2-4). These ideas will be researched further and formulated into action points. 

  1. Mindmapping: 

Formulate your subject in one or two words and write this down on a piece of paper. Around this word, you write down all the words that are related to the subject for 5 minutes. Use lines to connect the words and ideas, this way a web will be created. Now you have a lot of new ideas. Highlight the best ideas and formulate them. Afterwards, these ideas can be researched further. 

  1. Customer desire map: 

This method can be used when you are searching for a solution for a specific  target audience. The target audience has requirements (musts), requests (wants) and restrictions (won’ts), the three R’s. Write the three R’s down on paper and write down ideas at the corresponding R: 

  • What does the target group need? (Requirements) 
  • What does the target group want? (Request) 
  • What does the target group not want? (Restrictions) 

After this, you will have a clear view on the subject and what you will need. If this does not give you a clear idea yet, you can use technique 1 to generate creative ideas on your specified formulated problem. 

More methods can be found here.  (Sources used here.)

In this video, some tips are given. It is also very important to not have any rules or restrictions in order to let your mind freely roam. 

Brainstorming Techniques: How to Innovate in Groups 

Brainstorming tools: 

  • In order to use brainstorm technique 1, you will need to use paper and pens. However, these days, meeting are online or hybrid. In order to be able to have a good brainstorm session, you could use an online brainstorm paper with post-its on miro .  
  • For brainstorm technique 2, an interactive brainstorm map can be used on popplet and mindmeister. 
  • Stormboard could be used for technique 3 where you can use post-its and brainstorming in different columns for the three R’s. 
  • There are also websites with multiple features that can be used for all kinds of techniques like the stormboard and flock. Flock is an online platform where you can not only brainstorm but also have communication with your groupmates. 

How do you brainstorm at TU/e? What tools have you picked up since hybrid studying started? Let us know in the comments!


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