Brainstorming Starter Guide


Our Product team regularly holds workshops to brainstorm ideas for entire projects or small details. We invite people from across the organization to take part to get a range of perspectives on every challenge.

This board is an example of some of the tricks we use to help everyone feel welcome and confident in the session.

Warm-up Together

Some people come from teams or disciplines that don’t regularly use brainstorming as part of their day-to-day work. Planning a session needs to take this into account: How might we make them comfortable and feel safe sharing ideas in this space? We need to balance enough time for onboarding to the format of the session with enough time for ideating.

A warm-up activity is a low-pressure—even fun—way to get ready for the session. It gives people time to learn the tool without worrying about messing up their or someone else’s work. A warm-up also provides space for people to transition from whatever they were doing before into a creative, open headspace.

The activity in the template is one that lends itself well to a remote work environment and has been a success with our team.

Write down “Instructions”

Access to information is empowering. By writing down anything that people might need throughout the session, people can focus on the activity instead of second-guessing what was said minutes earlier.

Write down instructions so people can follow along as the moderator explains what’s happening. These also act as a reference when people need clarification during the activity. If people need to do the exercise on their own time, they know what to do—and that it’s the same as what everyone else did earlier.

Provide “Helpful Links”

Provide links to anything that might be helpful for people in the session. It’s a nice feeling when we’re all working together, with the same information. Easy access to links also means it’s more likely that people will reference the resources.

Send the links ahead of the meeting to increase the likelihood that everyone will be familiar with the materials. If you do this, ask for questions at the beginning of the session, so everyone has a chance to get clarification they may need.

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Jen Goertzen image
Jen Goertzen
UX Designer & Partner @Caribou, Senior Product Designer @IDAGIO
Designer and sometimes researcher, helping cross-discipline teams better collaborate together and with their users.
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