Effective Brainstorming


Brainstorming is a pretty well-known group creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members. While this is a great approach to gathering a bunch of ideas, in the standard approach of brainstorming the story ends right there. There is very little tooling available to help the team in evaluating and choosing the right idea to go forward with.

PRIZ Innovation Platform offers additional help with Brainstorming and here we call it Effective Brainstorming.

The Concept

Conceptually, the tool is extremely easy to use. It is done in two steps:

  1. Collecting the ideas – this is the traditional brainstorming step. The group collects random ideas and all of them recorded.
  2. Ranking of ideas – this step is the differentiator. Given all the ideas generated during the brainstorming we need to understand in what order we are going to evaluate them. And RRR will help us with it.

As a result, we will get a list of ranked ideas. The ones with the highest rank should be looked at and evaluated first.

Creating Effective Brainstorming tool

As we already described in the Creative Tools article, creative thinking tools can only be used within a scope of a project. At this point, we assume, that there we already have created the project.

Now, click on Creative Tools on the left side menu of the project. You will be taken to the creative tools page where you are able to see all the tools already used in the project, as well as create others.

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To use the Effective Brainstorming tool, click on the + NEW button in the top right corner of the page.

Once you see a dialog with all available tools, select Effective Brainstorming from the options.

Once the tool is ready to use, you will be redirected to it.

Using Effective Brainstorming

As mentioned above, there are two phases in Effective Brainstorming:

  1. Recording of ideas
  2. Ranking of ideas

Recording the ideas

The screen for ideas recording will look something like this.

Ideas recording in effective brainstorming

Problem Statement

Right below the page title, you will see the problem statement of your project (if one is defined). This is pretty important to always remember what is the problem the group is targeting in any step of the project. This is why we are presenting it again here, so the team has it in front of their eyes.

New ideas form

Next comes the single field form where you can simply type the ideas coming from a group. Once you type in the idea you can record it by simply click on the “Create Idea” button.

List of ideas generated in the session

All the ideas generated in this particular session will be shown right under the “new idea” form.

Every idea can be edited or deleted at any point in time.

Completing the ideas collection

We strongly believe that this type of creative work has to be done in phases. That means that you must complete one before moving to the next. Same here, the actual Brainstorming step should be completed before moving to the ranking of ideas.

To complete the brainstorming step, you should click on the “Complete” button (bottom right corner).

Completed brainstorming screen will look like the following:

Completed brainstorming

This screen is almost identical to the ideas recording step, with the exception that at this stage you are not able to add new, edit or delete ideas.
Note: Don’t worry if you now see some typos or something that should not be there. This is not the exact science, the thought process is the important part.

Ranking of ideas

The ranking process is done with the help of Round Robin Ranking (RRR). In order to kick off ranking, you can simply click on the “Rank Ideas” button (bottom right). This will take you to RRR directly into the ranking phase.

We won’t describe here how RRR works, it is described in details in its own document. However, the result of ranking may look something like this:

Ideas ranking result

This page is the standard RRR summary page. In the bottom right corner, you can see the “Back to Brainstorming” button. Clicking on it will bring you back to your Effective Brainstorming session, but at this stage, you will see all your ideas with attached ranking scores.

Ranked brainstorming ideas

The ideas are now sorted by rank. The highest is at the top.

You are welcome to repeat the process again, as many times as needed; however, the experience shows that you will probably not going to get significantly different results by going through ranking again.

That’s it! With the ranked list of ideas, you and your team can start evaluating them from the very top.

Contact us for any questions and or concerns.

in Creative Tools
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