Brainwriting with Manual Thinking: Effective brainstorming

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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!

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.