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Brainstorming Examples + Techniques For Problem Solving

Written by: Krystle Wong

Sep 08, 2023

Brainstorming Examples

So — you’re faced with a complex problem that seems as daunting as a mountain. You’ve tried all the usual approaches, but the solution remains elusive. What do you do? That’s where a good brainstorming mind map maker comes into play. 

This article is your backstage pass to the world of brainstorming. I’m not just going to give you the playbook; I’m going to show you how it’s done with brainstorming examples that will have you saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?” 

So, no more beating around the brainstorming bush. Let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the many effective techniques and examples that will turbocharge your problem-solving game. It’s time to unleash your inner brainstorming genius!


Click to jump ahead:

What are the 4 rules of brainstorming

The concept of brainstorming was introduced by Alex Osborn, an advertising executive and he outlined four key rules to facilitate effective brainstorming sessions. 

These rules are often referred to as the “Four Rules of Brainstorming” and are designed to encourage creativity and a free flow of ideas within a group. Here are the four rules:

No judgment: All ideas are welcomed and accepted without criticism or evaluation during a brainstorming session. This rule encourages participants to feel free to express even unconventional or seemingly impractical ideas.

Quantity over quality: Forget about perfection for now. In brainstorming, it’s like a numbers game – the more ideas, the merrier. Don’t get bogged down in refining each idea to perfection; just get them out there.

Build on the ideas of others: Teamwork makes the dream work. When someone throws out an idea, don’t just nod and move on. Add your spin, build on it or take it in a different direction. It’s all about collaboration and bouncing off each other’s creativity.

Encourage wild and creative ideas: Embrace the weird, the wild and the wacky. Sometimes the most outlandish ideas can be the seeds of genius solutions. So, don’t be shy – let your imagination run wild. 

So, the next time you’re in a brainstorming session, remember these rules. They’re not just guidelines; they’re the keys to unlocking your team’s creative potential. With these principles in play, you’ll find yourself reaching new heights of innovation and problem-solving.

12+ brainstorming mind map examples for problem solving

Mind maps are a powerful tool for brainstorming, helping individuals and teams visualize ideas, make connections and unleash their creative potential. 

Whether you’re conducting a team retrospective or embarking on a corporate brainstorm, you can significantly enhance idea generation, boost efficient learning and note taking with mind maps. Get started with one of the brainstorming mind map examples below. 

1. Team retrospective board

When creating a mind map for a team retrospective, it’s essential to strike a balance between structure and flexibility. 

To achieve this, consider color-coding categories such as “What went well,” “What needs improvement,” and “Action items.” This visual differentiation helps participants quickly identify and prioritize discussion areas. 

Team Retrospective Board Template

Additionally, incorporating a timeline element within the mind map can provide a visual representation of the project’s progression, enabling the team to recall specific events and experiences. 

You can further enhance the visual appeal and emotional context by using icons or symbols to represent sentiments, such as happy faces for positive experiences and sad faces for challenges.

2. Business model brainstorm

Designing a mind map for brainstorming a business model necessitates a structured approach to represent various model elements coherently. 

Incorporate color to cover essential components like value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams and distribution channels. Color coding can help visually organize your ideas and make the map more visually appealing.

Lean Canvas Brainstorming Business Model Template

To make each component stand out and aid comprehension, incorporate icons or relevant images. For instance, use a dollar sign icon to represent revenue streams. Consistency in color schemes helps differentiate sections and highlights essential elements.

Business Model Canvas Board Template

3. Collaborative brainstorm

Collaborative brainstorming often involves multiple participants contributing ideas simultaneously. 

To ensure efficient organization and clarity, assign specific branches within the mind map to individual participants. This approach helps maintain ownership of ideas and prevents overlap. 

Encourage participants to contribute further context by adding comments or annotations to each branch. Utilize mind mapping software that supports real-time collaboration if the brainstorming session involves remote teams, enabling seamless teamwork and idea exchange.

These collaborative brainstorming examples can be helpful in generating ideas during your next brainstorming process:

Brainstorming Collaboration Board Template
SMART Goals Team Brainstorming Board Template

4. Product improvement brainstorm

Brainstorming product improvements requires an effective categorization and prioritization of ideas. Organize your mind map by creating branches for different areas of improvement, such as usability enhancements, additional features or performance optimization. 

Fushia Brainstorm Mind Map Template

Begin by sharing user feedback, reviews or customer pain points related to the product. This provides context and helps participants understand the existing challenges.

Then, organize your mind map into categories based on different aspects of the product, such as features, user experience, performance or customer support.

Black White Brainstorming Mind Map Examples

Product improvement is an ongoing process so make sure to not limit your brainstorming to a one-time event. Schedule regular sessions to continually enhance the product.

5. Corporate brainstorm

In a corporate brainstorming session, where diverse topics and ideas are on the agenda, systematic organization is crucial. 

Divide your mind map into sections and subsections to address various corporate aspects, such as HR, marketing, finance and operations. For example, this mind map on corporate initiative ideas divides the sections into different CSR programs and initiatives that the company can do to enhance public image:

Corporate Brainstorming Mind Map

To highlight potential synergies between related ideas from different sections, connect them with clear cross-references. Additionally, for practicality, include action items or tasks linked to specific ideas to facilitate a smooth implementation process within the corporate framework.

Visual Brainstorm Mind Map Diagram
Visual Business Brainstorm Mind Map

6. Creative brainstorm

Creative brainstorms thrive on spontaneity and inspiration — which is why your mind map design should encourage free-flowing ideas and unconventional thinking. 

Opt for a non-linear, organic structure within the mind map, avoiding rigid hierarchies that can stifle creativity. Embrace the use of visuals, such as images, sketches or mood boards, to stimulate creativity and inspiration. 

Here’s a brainstorming mind map example that teachers can use to generate exciting classroom activities and keep students engaged:

Purple Red Brainstorm Mind Map Examples

Allow branches to extend in unexpected directions, reflecting the dynamic and imaginative nature of creative brainstorming. This approach encourages participants to explore unconventional ideas and perspectives, fostering a truly creative atmosphere during the session.

Playful Brainstorming Mind Map Template
Teal Yellow Editable Brainstorm Mind Map Template

Brainstorming aside, mind maps are versatile tools useful for organizing complex information, creating study aids, structuring project plans and facilitating communication and knowledge sharing in collaborative settings.

Browse our selection of mind map templates or learn about the best mind mapping software to help enhance creativity, solve problems and organize ideas.

10 effective brainstorming techniques that work

Unleashing your team’s creativity through effective brainstorming techniques is a game-changer when it comes to generating new ideas and innovative solutions. Let’s delve into ten creative brainstorming techniques that can breathe life into your brainstorming sessions:

1. Mind mapping

Like concept maps, mind mapping is great for emphasizing the connections and relationships between ideas. You start with a central idea and then let your thoughts branch out like tree branches. Mind mapping is a great way to spot connections you might have missed.

Vibrant Editable Brainstorm Mind Map

2. Brainwriting

Forget talking — this one’s all about writing your ideas down. Brainwriting lets you pass your ideas around and let your team add their two cents. It’s a great brainstorming strategy for getting everyone involved especially if you’re brainstorming with a large group.

3. SCAMPER Method

SCAMPER stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate and Reverse. This technique encourages participants to explore these strategies for idea generation.

4. Storyboarding

Create a visual narrative or storyboard to explore ideas sequentially. This can help enhance understanding the flow and practicality of concepts, especially in product development or process improvement. Check out our gallery of storyboard templates you could use to generate new ideas.

Blue How to Space Storyboard

5. Role storming

Ever tried brainstorming as someone else? In this technique, you put on different thinking caps, like playing pretend. It’s awesome for seeing things from fresh angles.

6. Worst possible idea

This one’s my favorite! Deliberately come up with the crummiest, silliest ideas you can think of. Oddly enough, they can spark some brilliant ones!

7. Round-robin brainstorming

One of my favorite group brainstorming techniques, everyone gets a turn to share their ideas with round-robin brainstorming — no interrupting or dominating the conversation. This technique ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute.

8. SWOT Analysis

Analyze the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats related to the problem or idea. This structured approach helps identify potential areas for improvement or innovation. Browse our SWOT analysis templates for more inspiration.

Personal SWOT Analysis Examples

9. Random word or image association

Start with something random, like “banana” or “dolphin,” and brainstorm from there. It’s like mental gymnastics and it can lead to some seriously cool ideas.

10. Nominal group technique

For this brainstorming technique, Participants individually generate ideas, which are then anonymously shared and discussed as a group, ensuring balanced participation and minimizing the influence of dominant voices.

To further fuel your brainstorming sessions, you could always consider using a brainstorming tool to facilitate collaboration, structure ideas and provide visual frameworks. From virtual whiteboards to mind maps, here’s a list of brainstorming tools that can cater to various needs and preferences in brainstorming sessions.

5 common mistakes to avoid during brainstorming

Brainstorming sessions can be exhilarating bursts of creativity, but they can also veer off course if not handled with care. Here, we’ll explore five common missteps to steer clear of and conduct a successful brainstorming session.

1. Criticizing ideas too early

When participants criticize or judge ideas too soon in the brainstorming process, it can discourage creativity and stifle the generation of innovative solutions. To avoid this, it’s essential to foster an environment where all ideas are welcomed without immediate criticism.

Solution: Embrace the “No Judgment” rule we mentioned earlier. Encourage a judgment-free zone where all ideas are welcome to generate as many ideas, no matter how unusual or impractical they might seem initially. 

2. Groupthink

Ah, groupthink – the silent brainstorming killer. It’s when the desire for harmony within the group overrides critical thinking. Everyone nods along to ideas, not because they believe in them, but to avoid conflict.

Solution: Foster an atmosphere where dissenting opinions are not only tolerated but encouraged. Encourage team members to play devil’s advocate and don’t let conformity hold your brainstorming sessions hostage.

3. Ignoring introverted participants

In the whirlwind of brainstorming, extroverted voices can dominate the conversation, leaving introverts feeling like they’re stranded on the sidelines. Their valuable ideas may get lost in the noise.

Solution: Implement techniques like brainwriting or round-robin brainstorming, which give everyone an equal chance to contribute without the pressure of immediate verbal expression. 

4. Prioritizing quantity over quality

Yes, quantity matters in brainstorming, but swinging the pendulum too far toward generating sheer volume can leave you drowning in a sea of mediocre ideas.

Solution: Balance is key. Encourage the generation of many ideas, but once you’ve amassed a list, focus on quality. Sort through them, identify the most promising ones and build upon them collectively.

5. Neglecting follow-up and implementation

Brainstorming is exhilarating, but it’s just the first lap in the race. Failing to follow up on the ideas generated and implementing the best ones is like baking a cake and never eating it.

Solution: Assign responsibility for each idea’s follow-up and implementation. Establish clear timelines and action plans. Make sure the fruits of your brainstorming labor don’t gather dust on the shelf.

By sidestepping these brainstorming bloopers, you’ll be on your way to brilliant solutions and groundbreaking ideas, all while avoiding the pitfalls of the brainstorming jungle. 

Ready to kickstart your brainstorming session? These brainstorm presentation templates might come in handy to help spark creativity, ideation and foster collaborative problem-solving within a team. 

Brainstorming examples FAQ

How does brainstorming help with the writing process

Brainstorming helps the writing process by generating a pool of diverse ideas, facilitating idea organization and overcoming writer’s block. It allows writers to explore different angles and perspectives for their content.

Are there any online tools or software for collaborative brainstorming?

Yes, there are several online tools and software for collaborative brainstorming, such as Miro, Stormboard and Google Jamboard. These platforms enable teams to brainstorm ideas in real-time, regardless of physical location.

What are some brainstorming activities for team building and creativity?

Brainstorming activities for team building and creativity include “Two Truths and a Lie,” “Role Reversal” and “The Six Thinking Hats.” These creative exercises promote trust, collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking among team members to generate creative ideas.

How do I encourage creative thinking during a brainstorming session?

To encourage creative thinking during a brainstorming session, create a non-judgmental environment, encourage wild ideas, use creative prompts and mix up the group dynamics. To facilitate productive brainstorming sessions, reward creativity and emphasize the importance of novelty and innovation.

What role does creativity play in effective brainstorming?

Creativity plays a central role in effective brainstorming as it drives the generation of innovative ideas and solutions. Without creativity, brainstorming sessions can become routine and fail to produce breakthrough concepts.

What are the benefits of using brainstorming examples in a business or creative context?

Using brainstorming examples in a business or creative context can provide tangible illustrations of successful brainstorming outcomes. They can inspire participants, provide a framework for idea generation and demonstrate the practical application of brainstorming techniques. Additionally, they can serve as a reference point for future brainstorming sessions.

5 steps to create a brainstorming mind map with Venngage 

In conclusion, mastering the art of brainstorming is like unlocking a treasure chest of solutions to your most challenging problems. By exploring a variety of brainstorming techniques and with the help of the above examples of brainstorming, you’ve gained valuable tools to tackle issues with confidence and creativity.

Now, to bring it all together, consider harnessing the power of visual thinking through a brainstorming mind map. Venngage offers a seamless solution that can transform your brainstorming ideas into organized, inspiring journeys using mind maps. To create a brainstorming mind map with Venngage:

  1. Sign in or create a free Venngage account.
  2. Pick a brainstorm mind map template to get started. 
  3. Add your central idea in the central node.
  4. Create branches and subtopics by clicking, dragging and labeling.
  5. Customize your mind map with colors, fonts, icons and connectors to make it visually appealing.

Remember, the beauty of brainstorming lies in its boundless potential, always ready to surprise you with fresh perspectives and creative solutions.

So, whether you’re tackling complex business dilemmas or personal puzzles, put your thinking hat on for a productive brainstorming session and let all the ideas roam free. 

About Krystle Wong

Everyday writer and a weekend baker, Krystle is a content marketer and brand strategist with experience in media, tech and SaaS.