Do you need to brainstorm, but struggle with how to begin? Somedays, the brain just fails you for creative thought. Consider using an improv game to jumpstart your creative juices.
When we brainstorm as a team, we use the game Name 10 Things to gather ideas that are all green-hat (anything goes, all are plausible, no veto-ing allowed yet, etc.). How do you play, you ask? It’s so easy! Each person takes a turn quickly and without hesitation, naming 10 things about any given topic, and anything goes (even duplicate answers). Here’s my quick Name 10 Things that I will play right now with myself:
“Katie, name 10 things you love about ice cream!”
1. it’s cold
2. it’s fruity
3. it’s icy
4. it’s got chocolate
5. it satisfies my sweet craving
6. it’s Blue Bell
7. it’s perfect in the summertime
8. it gets yummy when its melty
9. it’s fruity
10. it’s available year round!
As our improv-expert David loves to remind us, a game like Name 10 Things is helpful because its fast and it pushes you to come up with 10 ideas that are all totally acceptable. At least at first. (Remember, it’s a brainstorm, many ideas will later get rejected.)
Why ten things?
Why not! Ten is a nice, soft, round number, and not too overwhelming for a brainstorm. Many times, the brain gets stumped with the challenge of coming up with a board full of answers. Ten things is easy, because it’s a short list. So, when you’re stumped with only 7 ideas, don’t quit, the end is in sight.
When you play, the first couple of answers you name are probably obvious. And when you’ve got to think fast it forces some creativity. Your answers may get weird a few answers later, but then your mind comes back around to some deeper, more meaningful ideas towards the end of your neat, short 10 items list And this works in so many ways! We use this method via email thread, standing in a circle as a team (which is fun, because your team counts down right after each of your answers), or in a small group with a whiteboard.
Try this brainstorming method the next time you need a list and feel overwhelmed. And invite others to play, too!