As we move into the second half of the year you may be reflecting on what has happened over the last several months, gathering learnings from your projects and re-configuring your strategies for the remainder of the year.

An effective way to develop ideas and solutions to solve the problems facing your organization is collaborative brainstorming. Whether you need new strategies to combat your competitors, a theme for the next marketing campaign or product innovation, more minds are better than one.

The traditional white board, mind mapping process for brainstorming can get stale and lead to idea exhaustion. To inspire creativity and reinvigorate the brainstorming process we recommend leveraging some fresh techniques as outlined below. Remember, regardless of which one you choose it is very important to first clearly define what problem you are looking to solve and what outcome you want to achieve from the session. Once that is done choose one of these methods and let the ideas flow:

1. Idea by association – Give everyone in your group a random object, such as a hat, scissors, box of cereal and so on. Instruct each person to write down words to describe the look or function of their thing. They then need to connect their descriptors to ideas to solve your problem. For example, you want to brainstorm outdoor summer campaign ideas and your object is a hat: Hat = shade = Idea: Branded pop up tents at bus stops around the city to protect commuters from the hot sun.

2. Brain Writing – Get everyone in the group to write their ideas on their own sheet of paper. After 5 to 10 minutes, rotate the sheets of paper and have the next person build on the ideas of the previous person. Continue until everyone has written on everyone else’s sheet.

3. Flip It! Imagine what the predictable solutions to the problem are and do the opposite.

4. Have no boundaries – Imagine that there are no limits to the time, people, resources and money available to you. What would you do? Use these ideas to mold realistic strategies.

5. Leverage the Medici Effect – A concept that demonstrates the connection between seemingly unrelated topics or contexts. For example, if you want to be the number one law firm in Canada, look at what the number one marketing companies, hairdressers, performers all have in common. Take these characteristics and assess how you could leverage them for your own success.

6. Buyer Persona Role play – Assign everyone in your group one of the buyer personas of your brand, then get them to play out a day in the life of that persona. From this you can develop marketing, sales and product ideas. For example, if you are targeting tech junkies the performer may play out a day that involves them checking their cell from bed when they first wake up, then using their google watch to navigate their commute while they listen to music on the latest headphones. By doing this you can identify new angles to appeal to this persona.


The most important rule of brainstorming is that no idea is a bad idea. Set the stage for your session by encouraging people to let go and leave criticisms out. Have fun with the process, you never know, you might uncover your next big thing!