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Brainstorm Technique #7 – Creative Curve Ball


Brainstorm Technique: Creative Curve Ball
If you’ve ever watched baseball, you know nothing throws a hitter off more than when they’re looking for one pitch and you get another. This technique brings that concept to your brainstorm session by introducing random stimuli to your creative process. The idea is to use the random stimuli to encourage thinking in new and unexpected directions.

Ideal Brainstorm Activity For:
idea generation, concept development, exploration of existing concepts

Brainstorm Tools:
2-3 easel pads
permanent markers
small to medium-sized meeting space (depending on the number of participants)
creative curve balls (random items of inspiration)
container (to hold creative curve balls)
# of Participants:
4 – 15+

How To Brainstorm With Creative Curve Ball:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights.
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions.
  3. Assemble a selection of random stimuli to serve as creative curve balls. This could be anything ranging from pages randomly torn out of magazines to things you borrowed from your co-workers’ desks. Make sure you have enough stimuli for each person in the meeting to grab at least 2 things.
  4. Gather supplies and book a small to medium-sized conference room.

Brainstorm Intro: (approx. time varies by experience level)

  1. Review Brainstorm Bill of Rights with participants
  2. Establish the goal of the brainstorm by discussing the BrainBrief™
  3. Kick-off the meeting with an Icebreaker (if needed)

Brainstorm Part 1: (approx. 20-30 minutes)

  1. Begin by dividing your brainstorm group into smaller teams of 2-3 and reminding the groups of the goal you are trying to achieve in the meeting.
  2. Allow each group member to pull a creative curve ball and instruct the groups to utilize their collective curve balls to develop unique solutions to the goal of the meeting.
  3. Give the groups time to work together to use their creative curve ball to develop a unique solution to the goal you established.

Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 20-30 minutes)

  1. Have teams select their best concepts to present back to the larger group.
  2. Invite members of the larger group to build and develop the ideas presented with any ideas they may have.
  3. Record the ideas shared and any builds on an easel pad for the group to review.

Brainstorm Part 3: (approx. 5-15 minutes)

  1. Review the remaining, unselected stimuli with the larger group. Invite them to share any ideas or thought starters with the group.
  2. Record any ideas on an easel pad for further discussion and review.


  1. Thank all the participants for their input
  2. Select concepts for further development  (can be done alone or as part of the group)
  3. Be sure to capture all the notes and take them with you. It’s often easiest to take digital photos of the easel pads for reference at a later date.


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