Group Brainstorming Activities

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Brainstorming in groups can be a great way to expose team members to new perspectives and ideas. These activities will give you several new options for implementing group brainstorming.

Group Brainstorming

For many people, group work is not just part of school but a reality of their careers. As a result, it's important to teach people how to function in a group setting. This includes working to accomplish tasks as well as creating them. Group brainstorming can be a valuable tool that allows for innovative ideas and varied perspectives when tackling a problem. The following group brainstorming activities are time tested and adaptable to teammates of any age or grade.

Group Brainstorming Activities

The Shuffle Method

Start by addressing the problem at hand so that everybody is on the same page. Give everyone a piece of paper and three-five minutes to start writing down ideas about how to address this problem. After five minutes, collect all of the papers and shuffle them. Redistribute the papers at random and give people another three-five minutes. This time, they must read over the existing idea and respond to it, adjusting it and expanding on it as much as they can. Please instruct everybody to run with the new idea, and not just cross it out and start over. You can repeat this several times.

  • Materials: Paper, writing utensils, stopwatch/clock

The Stepladder

The stepladder technique is a popular method of brainstorming used by many people. Assign the entire group their project, then ask all but two people to leave the room. Those two people will start discussing their ideas. In a few minutes, send in a third person, and have them start by presenting their idea. Those three people will discuss all their ideas for a few minutes, and then send in the fourth. Continue this until all ideas have been heard.

  • Materials: Writing supplies if desired, stopwatch/clocks

A Mile In Another's Shoes

In this brainstorming technique, every person in the group will tackle the project from a different (and distinct) perspective. Start by asking every person to draw a perspective at random. These could be general figures (celebrity chef, Tech CEO, President of the United States) or specific ones (Gordon Ramsey, Bill Gates, Barack Obama). Each person will put aside their own opinions and try to tackle the problem solely from this perspective, thinking as that figure would.

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