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)

Simplifying idea generation

arrange ideasgo to online storeManual Thinking is the ideal material for facilitating idea generation sessions. Each participant can draw their ideas on removable labels and place them on a map, connecting them with the ideas of the other team members to create an interactive overview of ideas. Here you can find some of many methods you can apply with Manual Thinking to work creativity in an efficient way!

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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Why Manual Thinking?

Manual Thinking is a universal tool to treat organizational and creative tasks in an active and direct manner, efficient for both individuals or teams. It facilitates:

why manual thinkingLearning:

  • Using Manual Thinking helps you to better understand a situation by adding hierarchies, categories and relations to its information. Additionally, working manual and visual makes it easier to interiorize the subject at hand, using more cognitive functions of your brain.

Taking decisions:

  • Manual Thinking lets you gather information in an organized way to create an overview of a situation to make taking decisions easier. Collect pro’s and contra’s, alternative options and figure out next steps to take. Especially useful in groups, the tool allows team members to note their opinions without interruptions or discussions.

Finding new solutions:

  • With Manual Thinking creativity can be treated in a pro-active manner, with organization as an important basis. It allows you to arrange ideas by groups, making it easy to expand them and find alternatives. The format allows team members to associate on each other ideas quickly through writing and drawing. Furthermore, the tool has been developed with various methods for structured idea generation in mind, which can be easily applied with the Manual Thinking tool. Working manual and visual is all about using the right side of your brain, bringing out the creativity in you.
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Idea creation workshop Japan

In autumn 2011 Luki Huber moderated a creativity workshop for customers in the department store Isetan in Tokyo, Japan. With the visual language of the maps and help of a translator, the gathered crowd was invited to participate in an idea generation process. Ranging from students to seniors, the audience stood out for their drawing skills!

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Product Design for Lékué

lekue product design mapManual Thinking is used for the idea generation, concept creation and proyect management of the range of products designed by Luki Huber for the Spanish kitchenware brand Lékué. On this map an overview is visualized of the products created between 2006 and 2010, amongst which the lemon squeezer, decopen and family of steamcases.

www.lekue.es

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