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brainstorming questions

35 brainstorming questions to jumpstart creativity

Reading time: about 6 min

When we brainstorm as a team effectively, magic can happen. 

But activating group creativity and gathering collective solutions can often prove to be an elusive and difficult process. There are a lot of challenges that come with group problem-solving. After all, everyone tackles obstacles in their own unique way. 

Without an effective framework and approach in place before diving into the brainstorming process, you may end your session with even more problems to solve than you started with. Ideas can clash and time can be wasted without practical brainstorming techniques. 

That’s why it’s so important to be prepared to challenge your team with good brainstorming questions to get the creative juices flowing. 

Why questions boost creativity during brainstorming sessions

A compelling, well-timed question can activate lively discussions and unexpected solutions. A poor question meant as a shortcut to a solution can often get you blank stares and an awkward silence. We’ve all been there!

That’s why it’s important that team leaders utilize and prepare creative brainstorming questions that encourage free thinking, creativity, and, yes, even more questions from your team. At face value, facilitating a conversation that creates even more questions might seem like it could lead to wasted time, but it’s actually an effective way to help your team invest in solving the problem at hand and engage in dynamic solutions as a group. 

Below we cover a wide range of brainstorming questions team leaders can use.

Creative brainstorming questions

To begin, it’s important to create an environment where your team feels open to contributing and solving problems as a group. This is a space where the team is encouraged to keep an open mind, check their egos at the door, and not pass judgment on any idea proposed. 

At such an early stage, brainstorming is about quality but also quantity. Good brainstorming is a means to gather as many ideas as possible and expand on them at a later time. It should be clear that the immediate goal is tossing as many ideas at the wall as possible and seeing what sticks. A team set up for success knows that, at the beginning stages, there are no bad ideas. 

Introductory questions

  • What are the goals we hope to achieve today?
  • What are the facts about this project / obstacle?
  • What insights do we have in terms of information, figures, or data that will be helpful?
  • What additional data or resources do we need to solve this challenge? 
  • What about this project is exciting?
  • What are the areas of this project we perceive to present the biggest possible challenge?

Information-gathering questions

  • How will our lines of communication function?
  • What will our methods of reporting be?
  • What skills are required to reach our goal?
  • What financial obstacles might we come across during this project?
  • How will we raise these funds?
  • How will we track our progress?
  • How and when will we ensure delivery of our finished product?

Questions meant to encourage discussion 

  • What are your initial impressions of this project?
  • How would you briefly outline or pitch this project?
  • Can you explain these obstacles as simply as possible?
  • What makes our organization / team uniquely equipped to tackle this project?
  • What does our organization / team lack in order to see this project succeed? 
  • How can we be prepared to account for our weaknesses?
  • How would a different organization approach this project?
  • What makes this product / project desirable to a customer?
  • What is the root of our problem here?
  • What is the best possible outcome for our project?

Problem-solving questions

  • Do we have ideas that we’re able to combine?
  • How can we implement our ideas in a different way?
  • Are there solutions you’ve used in other projects that would be helpful here?
  • What are three other ways of looking at this challenge?
  • What are other examples of projects / products similar to ours that have been successful?
  • How have similar projects / products failed?
  • If there were no limitations, how would we approach this project?

Reflection questions

  • What are our next steps?
  • What have we learned about our project?
  • Are there other team members or unique skill sets required for us to achieve these goals?
  • What might affect the timing of completing this project?
  • What factor or idea deserves the most focus at this time?

Lucidspark brainstorming resources

Of course, asking creative brainstorming questions and facilitating a conversation to jumpstart creativity is only one way to generate new ideas and solutions. Lucidspark has a number of resources to facilitate brainstorming in new and innovative ways. 

Brainwriting template

Lucidspark’s brainwriting template is a technique used to generate a number of ideas in a short period of time. After a long session of sharing ideas aloud in a roundtable discussion, team members might be ready to take a breather and engage in a more introspective exercise. 

Team members are asked to each write down three ideas in five minutes on sticky notes. The sticky notes are then passed around and more ideas are added to each. This process repeats for 10-15 minutes before all ideas are collected and discussed as a group. This technique allows team members a more structured format to share ideas with the group and gives a voice to each individual so all ideas are heard.

brainstorming questions
Brainwriting example (click on image to modify online)

Mind map template

Lucidspark’s mind map template is another great tool for visualizing and organizing your team’s creative solutions. Highlight an idea or goal in the center of a diagram and use lines to link related themes.

Mind maps are a useful way to assemble the ideas and results from brainstorming sessions all in one place, while also providing access to dynamic formatting, colors, and visuals. Mind maps allow you to modify and manage diverse sets of ideas quickly and in a single document.

brainstorming questions
mind map example (click on image to modify online)

Reverse brainstorming template

Reverse brainstorming is a technique that asks team members to identify gaps and possible roadblocks in a project’s future. Lucidspark’s reverse brainstorming template prompts a group to outline all the ways in which a plan or project might fail in order to more easily foresee solutions to headaches and complications before they arise.

brainstorming questions
example (click on image to modify online)

Brainstorming is a valuable tool, but only when the process has been set up to succeed. By preparing creative brainstorming questions you’ll improve your leadership performance and also encourage your team to think freely to solve the problem at hand. 

 

brainstorming questions

Level up your brainstorming sessions even more with these 7 additional brainstorming tips.

 

Learn more

Level up your brainstorming sessions even more with these 7 additional brainstorming tips.

Learn more

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