10 Game-Changer Brainstorming Tips To Boost Your Creativity

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As a creative thinker, sometimes ideas flow freely. But during those times you find yourself stuck as if you're walled in and no ideas can get through, there are some brainstorming techniques you can try to let your creativity shine once again.

Creative blockage is a real thing, and it affects a lot of people. Stoppage can last days, weeks, months, or years — that's crazy! Sometimes, it creeps up on you when you least expect it, and at that point, what can be done? It turns out plenty, and I'm here to walk you through it!

What is brainstorming?

Brainstorming is a group problem-solving method that deals with thinking up ideas and solutions.

The method involves a controlled environment where people are free to generate ideas or share knowledge in order to find a way to solve a problem. These ideas can be spontaneous and impulsive, but the process is designed to have people think without being interrupted.

Think of it as a way to bounce ideas off one another to create a supportive, creative space.

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What are the most popular brainstorming methods?

There are plenty of ways to do brainstorming activities. You don't even necessarily need a group of people to do it either. Some involve making maps while others involve recording sessions.

Some of the most popular brainstorming methods include:

  • Brainwriting: Participants write down their ideas about a question for a few minutes without talking before they give the paper to another person who uses the first one's ideas to trigger their own.
  • Starbursting: A technique that only asks questions instead of seeking answers to help generate ideas.
  • Mind-mapping: A note-taking technique that shows how your brain thinks and correlates how each idea flows from one idea to the next.
  • Rapid ideation: People write down as many ideas they have in a set time before the ideas are discussed.

10 Brainstorming Tips & Techniques To Boost Creativity

1. Change up your surroundings.

Where you work makes all of the difference. If you are in the office, in a bland cubicle, or at home in your dining room, it could be affecting your creativity.

Try changing your space; colors like blue are shown to increase creativity, and colors like red enhance attention to detail. Find out what other colors can do for you, and change your workspace accordingly.

2. Introduce plants to your workspace.

Plants are beautiful, but many of us refrain from committing to indoor plants. Did you know there are other benefits of houseplants besides having something pretty to look at inside?

Research has found that adding a plant to your workspace boots your productivity and creativity — it also provides you with much-needed fresh air.

3. Learn how to brainstorm correctly.

Do you know how to brainstorm? Some people don't, but there are a few basics to keep in mind:

  • Quantity over quality. Think of as many ideas as possible, with no judgment. Write them down.
  • Do not criticize. Let your ideas flow; no idea is stupid or silly.
  • Embrace weird ideas. If it’s unusual, it’s likely good.
  • Combine your ideas. If an idea is missing a link, pick from another idea.

Properly brainstorming allows you to consider all of the possibilities, helps you avoid creative burnout, and gather perspective. Brainstorming drives creativity. If you feel comfortable, asking others for their input is great.

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SCAMPER stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Reverse.

Usually, this is used for group projects, but SCAMPER is often used for creative endeavors. Just think of an idea, write it down, go through SCAMPER, and ask questions.

Can this be substituted? Can I combine ideas? Is there a way this can be adapted? How can I put this idea to another use? Maybe this idea needs to be eliminated. Creating questions helps you visualize your ideas and helps get you to think creatively.

5. Try mind mapping.

Mind mapping is literally mapping your ideas. Get a pen and some paper. Start in the center and work out from there.

For example, I have a mind map of things I'd like to write about. I just list writing in the center, and from there I create branches. Those branches can have branches. You can go in any direction with this.

6. Cultivate a growth mindset.

There are two types of mindsets: growth and fixed.

People with a fixed mindset think that everything is fixed; their talent, abilities, and intelligence included. Alternatively, those with a growth mindset believe that they can develop their talent and skills. They believe that brains and talent are a starting point, rather than an endpoint.

A growth mindset is integral to creativity in that it teaches you to continue through challenges. It helps you develop your skill set, and it helps improve your mood. Embracing a growth mindset prevents you from remaining stuck.

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7. Get outdoors.

The outdoors is great for a myriad of things. Going outside can not only help you reduce stress-induced creative blockage, but it can also help you be more creative, in general.

Think of Romantic-era poets — they were out in nature all of the time, and it shows in their writing. Have you seen a really breathtaking sunset? I have, and let me tell you, the sheer beauty of it did wonders for me.

Nature activates the creative center of your brain, enhancing your ideas.

8. Practice role-storming.

This technique is all about seeing a different perspective on a problem. In role-storming, focus on figuring out the problem as another person. You could play different coworkers or a boss and work the problem out from their view.

You could make it funny by playing celebrities or historical figures. Think, "How would Ben Franklin see this? What would he focus on?"

9. Try gap-filling.

This technique lets you find workable solutions. See where you are and where you want to be, then find ways to get from here to there (i.e., fill in the gaps). You have to find realistic ways to reach your end goal using this brainstorming method.

10. Take a break.

Have you been at it for hours with no end in sight? Have you been trying and trying and trying to come up with an idea just to fall short? Take a break from brainstorming. Take a break from mind mapping. Take a break from all of it.

Disconnect yourself from your creative rut. Relaxing can help put things into perspective. One minute you're struggling to come up with a solution to a problem, are struggling with what to add to a painting, or have writer's block; the next moment, while relaxing on the couch or perhaps in a hot shower, an idea will come out of nowhere.

That is the power of the human brain. Stop trying to force creativity and let your mind rest!

Creativity is essential. From CEOs to painters, everyone needs creativity. It allows you to come up with new ideas, rules, or ways of doing things. It helps you break from the usual and enables you to solve problems. Creativity increases your productivity and happiness.

There is no end to how creativity impacts us daily. Foster your creative spirit and allow your ideas to flow.

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Rachel Reed is a writer who has been featured in Mental Floss, Hidden Remote, Netflix Life, BUST Magazine, and more. Follow her on Twitter.