Methods for Group Ideation and Brainstorming

Are there any resources for creating group based ideation sessions?

Specifically, taking insights and building idea generation around them effectively?

This is something I haven’t really done with a larger group (all non-designers) and am feeling out of my comfort zone! Thanks for the help.

(Moved From Processes)

My colleagues and I recently wrote a load of loose briefs for upcoming development and product launch. I work for a home/kitchenware brand with a small (category-wise) but widening product range, so we have partnered with a chef/food writer/presenter who we use for a range of development and marketing tasks.

We visited her for two days, and initially met some local food producers too.

The brainstorming was simply 6 of us (me being the only designer), 3 flip chart pads and a load of sharpies, discussing the briefs, aided by our colleagues small catering kitchen and it’s ingredients, as well as her general home-furnishings and accessories.

I guess the key ingredients (no pun intended!) were enthusiastic people, a method of recording the work, some scene-setting background work, and easy access to visual prompts and associated products.

And lots of tea, cakes, and wonderful food and wine after hours.

We left with a far clearer understanding of what the goals were, so were able to nail down the briefs and start the design and development work.

Come to think of it ryan, this probably was the better forum for your question.

Thanks for deleting the other one and reposting it here. :wink:


I usually use a series of exercises to break it down for people.

Usually start by having a research read out so everyone starts from a similar baseline. Then break into teams of 3 (just the right size, no one can not participate in a team of 3) and launch into 45 minute exercises. At the end of each 45 minute work session there is a 15 minute read out where each team presents their concepts to the group, then the groups switch trade concepts and build/refine off of those.

For example, the first exercise might be to write problem statements, or use cases. Teams trade problem statements then the second might be to think of a solution for the problem statement (I’ll usually throw in a twist for each team, like solution must include or not include x technology). Third exercise might be to list the problems with the concepts you have been handed. Fourth to solve those problems… and so on. Then I usually will end the session with a forced rank of some kind, or mapping the concepts on a 2x2.

Usually I have one designer on each team to sketch concepts as they go. Also this takes 2 days.

Awesome input. Thanks guys.

Just a question… do you incorporate the research (and insights) into these ideation sessions? Or are those insights translated into problem statements.

I have a ton of insights to spark inspiration (works great for my individual design process). Are these thought-provoking insights more useful for a designer than a group of people who probably think creatively a lot less often?

Just trying to translate my list of Positive, Negative, Interesting into a format understandable (and usable) to a group.

Sometimes I will randomly assign insights for groups to play with. Or I’ll list out the presented insights onto post it notes and tell each team captain to select 2 to start with, or something like that.