I think it's really important for participants to "warm up" for a brainstorming session with energizers.  Here are some specific ones that get people thinking creatively and outside the box.


Word Storming

Write down one word and then brainstorm a bunch of other words that first come to your mind and then group words and determine how they relate to one another

*when brainstorming words, think about the function of the one word/aesthetics/how it’s used/metaphors


Play “Yes, and …. – This uses an improv technique to build on ideas.  One person says something and then the next person says “Yes, and….” to continue the idea.  (“I had toast for breakfast”…..yes and “I made you eggs to go with the toast”….yes and “the eggs came from my chicken”……)  Or start with “remember when….”


Brain writing

One person writes down an idea and then everyone passes paper to the left and the next person adds to what is already on the paper; everyone stays quiet until the papers are done passing


6 hats (quick guide to what

Looks at something in various perspectives

Fun to make hats out of construction paper before you get started


Divide and Conquer

Break into 2 teams and work the problem separately to get different ideas


Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

No need to reinvent something sometimes.  Best practices exist for a reason so make sure that what your brainstorming needs brainstorming


Change location

Sometimes having a different venue will spark creativity


Draw a star with 5 points - at each point write each word:  Who, When, How, What, Why

Write the topic or question in the middle of the star and have the participants write down appropriate concerns/items of interest for each question

*I use this with multiple stars (topics) and combine it with the Rotating Flip Charts exercise