What is Brainstorming - Definition, Benefits, Types and More

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What is Brainstorming - Definition, Benefits, Types and More

Are you a student who can’t get a concept right or a marketing executive who can’t come up with a breakthrough plan? Well, it is time to do some brainstorming and solve the problems you are facing creatively. It doesn’t matter if you are a student or a professional, an individual, or work in a group, brainstorming is a universal concept that can help everyone. To teach you what brainstorming is and what the main purpose of brainstorming is, I have come up with this detailed guide that can help every individual in one way or another.

ideas and brainstorming

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What is Brainstorming?

In a nutshell, brainstorming is one of the most creative ways of problem-solving in which we work on ideas. We can either come up with a new idea or build on an existing idea as well. Since there is no rule of thumb in brainstorming, it can be applied individually or in a group.

  • Firstly, a goal is defined to understand what the main purpose of brainstorming is.
  • Once we have an end-goal to achieve or a problem to solve, various challenges that come along are explored.
  • Furthermore, different aspects of the problem or situation are explored and we list down ways to overcome the challenges.
  • There is no structure in brainstorming, and no idea is considered wrong. All ideas are noted during the brainstorming sessions, and some can even be clubbed together.

Let’s consider that you need to work on a marketing plan for your brand. Firstly, you will define its objective and the vision of the brand. Subsequently, you will work on other things like the promotional strategy, what the customers think, the pricing, and what your competitors are doing. After considering all these things in mind, you can come up with a new and exciting marketing plan.

marketing plan mind map

What is the Main Purpose of Brainstorming?

Now when you know what does brainstorming means, let’s dive in a bit and understand what the main purpose of brainstorming is. The concept of brainstorming was developed by Alex Faickney Osborn in 1942 while working in his advertising firm, BBDO. The goal of brainstorming was to come up with new ideas without criticizing any thought. Here’s what you can achieve with brainstorming.

  • Its main purpose is to solve a problem creatively or innovatively.
  • Brainstorming also emphasizes on improving our ideation process and elevates the creative thinking of individuals.
  • One of the major objectives of brainstorming is to withhold criticism and welcome all sorts of ideas to the table.
  • Idea association is another objective of brainstorming as it encourages us to club ideas or work on existing ideas.
  • Lastly, it believes in getting a brand new perspective towards a problem that can introduce tons of new ideas for it.

What are the Benefits of Brainstorming?

The following are some of the significant benefits of brainstorming that make it so popular and universally known.

  • It helps us break the monotonous way of problem-solving and gives a new perspective to the same situation.
  • Since brainstorming works in all ways, it focuses on different ideas to provide a holistic solution.
  • Students are often taught to do brainstorming, and it encourages self-learning and better understanding.
  • It is also an extremely beneficial tool to improve teamwork and to get ideas of an entire group together.
  • When it comes to list-building or fixing a deadlock, brainstorming helps a lot by getting the input of a group.
  • As there are no right or wrong rules in brainstorming, people from different domains can do it without any technical issues.

Types of Brainstorming

Majorly, brainstorming is done in two ways – individually or in a group. Though, when it comes to how we brainstorm on topics, it can be of the following types:

Analytics Brainstorming

In this, we analyze the present situation from a different perspective and mostly use tools to assist us. Mind mapping, reverse brainstorming, SWOT analysis, Five Whys, Gap Filling, and Diverse Analysis are some of its major subtypes.

Quiet Brainstorming

This is mostly done when members are not able to meet, so that they can share their ideas in the best possible solution, via collaborative brainstorming, brain-netting (online brainstorming), slip writing, etc.

Role Play Brainstorming

In this, we intentionally think from the perspective of someone else (like customers or competitors). Reverse thinking, role storming, or figure storming are some of its major instances.

Powerful Free Brainstorming Tools

As you know, what the main purpose of brainstorming is, you can start working on it. To make things easier for you, I have listed the 3 popular brainstorming tools to try.

1. MindMaster

MindMaster is a freely available solution by Edraw that can run on different platforms like Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux. There is even an online version of the application that you can work on without downloading anything.

  • MindMaster features more than 700 different clip art that you can use to work on all kinds of brainstorming ideas.
  • There are also readily available themes and templates that you can use to save your time further.
  • It features a dedicated brainstorming mode to make it easier for teams to share ideas in one place.
  • The tool is widely used for collaborative brainstorming with its cloud integration and availability on various desktop/mobile platforms.

 More info: https://www.mindmaster.io/

brainstorming on mindmaster
2. Google Docs

Most of the people are already familiar with Google Docs, but they seldom utilize its features. Using it, you can work on some basic mind maps or brainstorming ideas and can further share it with others.

  • Integration with Google Sheets and Docs help us utilize the right data
  • Since these tools are available for free, anyone can use them without spending anything
  • Automatic upload on Google Drive and easy sharing features
  • There are some basic tools you can use to draw mind maps as well.

More info: https://docs.google.com/

brainstorming on google docs

Image Source: e-education.psu.edu

3. Visual Thesaurus

As the name suggests, this online tool works as a visual representation of thesaurus. Although it might not help you brainstorm big ideas, but would automatically provide a visual connection of words.

  • The tool would create a spider map of a word to show how it is linked to other words.
  • The online application is majorly used to find the right word and improve one’s vocabulary.
  • You can also share the word maps or email it to your friends.
  • Limited features for brainstorming

More info: https://www.visualthesaurus.com/

brainstorming on visual thesaurus

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How to Brainstorm with MindMaster?

Since MindMaster is such a user-friendly tool, it will let you perform brainstorming without any trouble in the following way.

Step 1: Define the end-goal

To start with, get to know the topic on which you need to brainstorm and clearly define the end goal. If you have a problem, then make sure it is defined clearly and shared with others.

Step 2: Work on MindMaster

Now, launch MindMaster on your system and open its canvas. If you want, you can use a readily available brainstorming template and even use its brainstorming mode. There are several vectors to help you work on your illustration.

Step 3: Branch-out and explore

There you go! You can welcome ideas from your team members and include them in the illustration during your brainstorming session. Focus on the challenges, how to fix them, and work on existing ideas. In the end, you can save your illustration and export it in the desired format.

make mind map

After reading this guide, you would be able to answer things like what is brainstorming or what is the main purpose of brainstorming. To make things easier for you, I have also listed the types of brainstorming and the popular tools that you can use to work on your next idea. Since MindMaster is one of the best visual tools, you can easily take its assistance and work on your next brainstorming session like a pro.