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Brainstorm Technique #11: Alpha Brainstorming


Brainstorm Technique: Alpha Brainstorming

When it comes to generating ideas, simplicity can sometimes be key. More effort spent focusing on the structure of the brainstorm means less energy focused on generating ideas. With Alpha Brainstorming, the brainstorm uses something ingrained into the mind to help drive the brainstorm session.

Ideal Activity For:
concept development, idea generation, problem solving, divergent thinking

Brainstorm Tools:
2-3 easel pads
permanent markers
small to medium sized meeting space
Stickers or stamps (3 per participant)

# of Participants:

How To Brainstorm With Alpha Brainstorming:

  1. Review the Brainstorm Bill of Rights
  2. Review the Brainstorm Prep Checklist and answer the appropriate questions
  3. 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. 10-30 minutes)

  1. After quickly recapping the goal of the brainstorm session, ask a member of the group to offer a solution to the goal that starts with the letter A. (Person could either be selected at random or an invitation could be issued to the whole group asking someone to shout out their answer)
  2. When a solution is volunteered, record the idea on a notepad. Once the idea is recorded, the person to the left of the speaker is now challenged to come up with a new solution that begins with the letter B.
  3. This process repeats until the group has generated a solution for each letter of the alphabet. (Please note: If the ideas are still flowing, and time permits, don’t hesitate to do two or even three rotations through the alphabet.

Brainstorm Part 2: (approx. 5-10 minutes)

  1. Ask each participant to come up to the notepads and review all the answers.
  2. Once they understand the available options, they must vote for their three favorite solutions from round 1.
  3. Narrow down the solutions to the top 3-5 vote-getting solutions.

Brainstorm Part 3: (approx. 20-40 minutes)

  1. Using the 3-5 solutions selected in Round 2, challenge the group the undertake a lightning round.
  2. Start with one of the selected solutions. Ask the group to quickly alpha brainstorm builds on the concept and record the builds on a notepad. (Note: Make sure to label your notepad pages, to make organizing notes easier.)
  3. Follow the same process for all selected concepts.


  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 makes big ideas infinitely more portable and permanent.


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