• Corey Michael


Brainstorming is the goal-oriented cousin of daydreaming; it is a way to generate fresh alternatives to the status quo.

Use brainstorming at the beginning of the "What if" stage of design thinking. You must use this after the "What is" stage. Many failed innovation projects skip "What is" and begin with brainstorming. This can lead to innovation fizzling out because you won't have a mental foundation to use for alternative thinking.

"Fireworks provide a high-energy stimulating experience for the audience, but in the back of or minds we know the display reflects careful design. The same is true for brainstorming. Think of brainstorming as 90 percent planning and 10 percent execution." Liedtka, Jeanne; Liedtka, Jeanne; Ogilvie, Tim; Ogilvie, Tim. Designing for Growth (Columbia Business School Publishing) (Kindle Location 1699). Columbia University Press. Kindle Edition.


2500 ago, Buddha taught his followers Right Though, Right Speech, Right Action. Here's how you can adapt this model to brainstorming

- Right people (small group , diverse, and depoliticized)

- Right challenge (the design brief)

- Right mindset (build up, not tear down)

- Right empathy (customer, persona)

- Right inspiration (insights form journey mapping)

- Right stimulus (trigger questions)

- Right facilitation (pacing, individual and group tasks)

- Right follow-up (clustering and concept development)

In your brainstorming sessions use open ended questions such as, "How would? How is? What if?"

For example,

1. How would household consumables be managed in paradise?

2. How is resupply managed in mission critical environments such as combat and mountain climbing?

3. What if household items could be bought only at 60-day intervals?

*Use quotes and stories as a stimulus to brainstorming!

*Explore the extremes- extreme scenarios can often trigger novel thoughts.



- understanding your user and the problem space


- defining the problem and make sure you understand what you are doing


- this is where you use brainstorming. Thinking about crazy ideas that can help make a better contribution to your project!


- build your concept!


- test your concept with your users!


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