Brainwriting with Manual Thinking: Effective brainstorming

brainwriting
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Brainwriting is a technique for idea generation in groups, a more structured alternative to brainstorming. As with brainstorming, brainwriting is a method where participants create ideas freely, associating and building on the ideas of the rest, but instead of being mentioned the process is carried out through writing and drawing in silence. This way, discussions are omitted and the full participation of all team members is guaranteed. Manual Thinking offers the ideal material to facilitate a brainwriting session, and gives the opportunity to organize the resulting ideas on a visual document. Try it too!

Necessary:
Manual Thinking foldable maps & removable large labels
Writing material: preferably a black and a colored marker to accentuate. It is essential that the writing material is the same for every participant, in order to hide the trail of the ideas’ authors and improve the legibility of the final maps.
– Assign a facilitator to control time.

Step by step:
1. Present the problem, in a way that invites solutions, for example by initiating the problem phrase with “How can you…?”
2. Situate groups of 6 (preferably) around a table and hand out a sheet of large labels to each participant. Take 3 minutes for the participants to draw an initial idea (one only!) on the first upper left label of the sheet. Now the sheets are passed to the neighbor on the right, who in continuation has 3 minutes to create a new idea building on the idea(s) which are already drawn on the sheet. The sheets keep passing until all labels are filled.
3. When sufficient ideas have been generated, mix the sheets of ideas within the group for review and take time to arrange the ideas by families on empty maps, with the group’s consent and awareness. The ideas can be numbered afterwards for a democratic idea selection.

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Idea generation: ‘Osborn’s Checklist’ template

New ideas tend to arise from combining or altering existing elements. Alex Osborn, a creative theorist coming from the advertisement industry and the originator of the brainstorming technique, therefore created a complete checklist containing many possibilities to change an existing idea or product into new ideas, whether close or far from the initial idea. This idea creation technique is called Osborn’s Checklist, also known as SCAMPER, which letters refer to the actions Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Magnify, Put to other use, Eliminate and Rearrange. This template offers a version of the checklist that is very easy to apply with the Manual Thinking material, the format being apt for both individual and teamwork.

Dowload the template heremanual thinking template osborn checklist

Step 1: Download & print the template on a sheet of Manual Thinking’s large labels

Step 2: Place an initial idea, product or object in the center of the map and stick the labels of the template around

Step 3: Convert the initial product or idea into new ideas, using the actions described in the template. Try to find at least 2-3 ideas for each stage and draw them on big labels which you place around the checklist.manual thinking template osborn checklist example map

Osborn, A.F. Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953
en.wikipedia.org (page: Alex Faickney Osborn. Sept. 2013)

Neumopriorize: Decision taking with your lungs

neumo mapa sVisualize which decision to take using your lungs: For each option, each participant blows up a balloon expressing their preference with the amount of air blown, making visible the preference of the group. Deciding becomes a fysical activity!globos s

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Creative teamwork

go to online storeMake creative teamwork simple with Manual Thinking!

Shot during a creativity workshop in the Manual Thinking studio, this video shows a team of 12 persons from different backgrounds and nationalities working together on problem exploring, idea creation and organization. With the Manual Thinking tool the ideas and visions from all participants are captured without any discussions in visual documents which can be presented and archived afterwards.

Camera & production by Visual13

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Creative teamwork workshop + video shoot

manual thinking creativity workshop

The 31st of January 2012 we held a creativity workshop in our studio, where a multilingual group of participants had the opportunity to get familiarized with Manual Thinking and several idea generation methods, while Vicenç from Visual13 was recording footage to create the Manual Thinking video. An intensive day resulting in lots of new ideas and contacts. Thanks to all the participants!

manual thinking creativity workshop 2

manual thinking creativity workshop 3

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