Simplify your workflows and optimize your daily routines with our collection of brainstorming templates.
Jobs to be Done
It’s all about a job done right — customers “hire” a product or service to do a “job,” and if it's not done right, the customer will find someone to do it better. Built on that simple premise, the Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) framework helps entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business managers define who their customer is and see unmet needs in the market. A standard job story lets you see things from your customers’ perspective by telling their story with a “When I…I Want To…So That I …” story structure.
Is your team in a rut? Have you had a lingering problem that can’t seem to be solved? First introduced in 1972, S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is a brainstorming method developed by Bob Eberle, an author of creativity books for young people. This clever, easy-to-use method helps teams overcome creative roadblocks. S.C.A.M.P.E.R. walks you through seven questions that are meant to encourage your team to approach a problem through seven unique filters. By asking your team to think through a problem using this framework, you’ll unlock fresh, innovative ways to understand the problem you’re trying to solve.
Parking Lot Matrix
When the creative energy is flowing, a workshop or meeting will yield a lot of new ideas — but not all are on-topic or currently feasible. Roll them right onto a parking lot matrix, a simple, effective tool for separating the best ideas from those that are promising but could use more research or discussion. This template will let you easily make your own parking lot matrix, which will come in especially handy during long meetings (and when you have teammates who tend to go off-topic).
When schedules get hectic, “learning by doing” becomes the default way to learn. So make time for your team to learn in other valuable ways — by reflecting and listening. Led by “learners,” (team members who share with the rest of the team), a meeting reflection lets teammates share new information about a client’s business or an internal business initiative, offer problem-solving techniques, or even recommend books or podcasts worth checking out. Meeting reflections also encourage colleagues at all levels to engage in each other’s professional development of their teammates.
Put simply, a concept map creates “ah, I get it now” moments for how complex ideas or concepts — specifically how they relate to each other. It’s a super simple visual tool. Typically, concepts are written in boxes or circles, and then label arrows are used to connect them with related ideas or information in a downward-branching hierarchical structure. Whether you’re learning (and teaching your team) a new subject or mapping out a user flow, this template will help you make progress and have breakthroughs.
Brainstorming is such a big part of ideation. But not everyone does their best work out loud and on the spot, yelling out thoughts and building on others’ ideas. Brainwriting is a brilliant solution for them—creative thinkers who happen to be more introverted. This approach and template invites participants to reflect quietly and write out their ideas, and then pass them to someone else who will read the idea and add to it. So you’ll get creative ideas from everyone—not just the loudest few.
Sharing and learning new knowledge is the fuel in the tank of any ambitious team or organization. A KWL chart is a graphical organizer that powers the learning process. This easy template lets you design and use a KWL, with three columns: Know, Want to Know, and Learned. Then you and your team will fill in each column by following three steps: Take stock of what you know, document what you want to get out of your session, and finally, record what you’ve learned.
Reverse brainstorming is a technique that prompts a group to think of problems, rather than solutions. Because we naturally think of problems, it’s a great way to get a group to anticipate problems that may occur during a project. To engage in reverse brainstorming, start by identifying the problem, and then think of things that might exacerbate it. Ask your team to generate ideas around ways in which the problem could get worse. Reverse the problems into solutions again, and then evaluate your ideas.
Sticky notes are a popular feature of any virtual, hybrid, or in-person brainstorming session. Participants can use sticky notes to submit, sort, or vote for ideas -- and much more. Use the Stickies Packs template to customize groups of sticky notes for your participants. You can then break your participants into groups according to the color of their sticky notes, or categorize ideas based on color, and so on. The Stickies Packs template empowers you to create brainstorming sessions that fit your needs and align with your goals.
It's tempting to measure a sprint’s success solely by whether goals and timelines were met. But there’s another important success metric: emotions. And Mad Sad Glad is a popular, effective technique for teams to explore and share their emotions after a sprint. That allows you to highlight the positive, underline the concerns, and decide how to move forward as a team. This template makes it easy to conduct a Mad Sad Glad that helps you build trust, improve team morale, and increase engagement.
Random word brainstorming is a simple, creative technique using random words to generate new ideas and creative solutions to your problems. Using random word prompts allows you to step beyond traditional boundaries and address challenges from a different direction. Random word brainstorming allows your team to unlock their creativity to solve business problems, create new inventions, improve existing ideas, or just think about problems in a new way.
Disney Creative Strategy
Know who knew a little something about coming up with ideas that set imaginations alight? Walt Disney. And he inspired the Disney Creative Strategy, an approach that establishes three types of thinkers—dreamers, realists, and critics—and gives each the space to do clear thinking. Your team will go through an engaging exercise of adopting the three mindsets, where they’ll focus on a specific aspect of the idea. The Disney Creative Strategy has a way of yielding brilliant ideas and great products. That’s why it’s used successfully by organizations of all kinds and sizes.
A timeline displays a chronological order of important dates, and scheduled events. Timelines help product managers, project managers, and team members tell visual stories about progress and obstacles. Timelines enable teams to see at a glance what happened before, what progress is happening now, and what needs tackling in the future. Projects or products with specific purpose or deliverables should be based on a timeline to be successful. Use the timeline as a shared reference for start dates, end dates, and milestones.
Idea Funnel Backlog
An Idea Funnel Backlog enables you to visualize your backlog and restrict the number of backlogged items at the top. In doing sos, you can prioritize items on your list without having to engage in unnecessary meetings or create too much operational overhead. To use the Idea Funnel Backlog, break up the funnel into different phases or treat it like a roadmap. Use the Idea Funnel Backlog as a hybrid model that combines your roadmap and backlog into one easily digestible format.
Sometimes you just need to get the team’s creative juices flowing for a brainstorm—and get them thinking of as many ideas as they can, as fast as they can. Crazy Eights will do it in a hurry. Favoring quantity over quality, this sketch brainstorming exercise challenges them to come up with eight ideas in eight minutes, which leaves no time to second guess ideas. It’s perfect for early stages of development, and it’s a team favorite for being fast paced and fun.
To shape your messaging, tailor your marketing, improve your product, and build your brand, you have to know your customers’ perceptions — what they think of you and your competitors. You can gain those insights by exploring a perceptual map. This simple, powerful tool creates a visual representation of how customers rank your price, performance, safety, and reliability. Put this template to work and you’ll be able to size up your competition, see gaps in the market, and understand changes in customer behavior and purchasing decisions.
Even creative thinkers can use occasional help thinking creatively, to see things in fresh ways and generate brilliant ideas. A Lotus Diagram will give them new inspiration — and empower you to run smoother, more effective brainstorming sessions. This creative-thinking technique explores ideas by putting the main idea at the diagram center and ancillary concepts in the surrounding boxes. This template gives you an easy way to create Lotus Diagrams for brainstorms, as well as an infinite canvas for the endless ideas generated.
When you’re building products and shipping goods (oh, and everything in between) there’s nothing more important than staying organized and on-task. Impact mapping is a great way to do it. This trusty product planning technique creates a graphical representation of all your goals and the steps it’ll take to reach each one — so you can clearly communicate with your teammates, align on business objectives, and build better roadmaps. Our template will help you do impact mapping for any type of project planning.
In our hectic world, it can be hard to plan out a schedule and stick to it. Whether you’re rigorous about scheduling or you struggle to keep your calendar updated, you’ll benefit from a weekly planner. A weekly planner is a schedule of your plans and activities over a week. It enables you to manage your time, track tasks, and organize your team by day. Unlike most paper planners, which are not personalizable, you can change up this weekly planner to create an agenda that fits your needs.
T-Charts can help you compare and contrast two different ideas, group information into different categories, and prove a change through “before” and “after” analysis. T-Charts are visual organizational tools that enable you to compare ideas, so you can evaluate pros and cons, facts and opinions, strengths and weaknesses, or big-picture views versus specific details. Designers and content creators can use T-Charts to turn possibilities into actionable ideas. T-Charts are useful for discussing differences and similarities with your team or clients and can help you to reach a decision together.
Research Topic Brainstorm
Coming up with a topic for a research project can be a daunting task. Use the Research Topic Brainstorm template to take a general idea and transform it into something concrete. With the Research Topic Brainstorm template, you can compile a list of general ideas that interest you and then break them into component parts. You can then turn those parts into questions that might be the focus for a research project.
Want to keep your company secure and performing soundly? You have to first know how you’ll be affected by outside elements and factors — especially those that are political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental in nature. A PESTLE Analysis helps you identify them and prepare for them. With this easy-to-use template, you can conduct a PESTLE Analysis, then use the results to shape your strategic planning, budget allocation, marketing, product updates, and organizational change initiatives.
Keeping track of your priorities is a big challenge on big projects, especially when there are lots of deliverables. The MoSCoW method is designed to help you do it. This powerful technique is built on a matrix model divided into four segments: Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, and Won’t Have (which together give MoSCoW its name). Beyond helping you assess and track your priorities, this approach is also helpful for presenting business needs to an audience and collaborating on deliverables with a group of stakeholders.
When you’re kicking off a creative project, it’s sometimes important to communicate the mood you’re trying to evoke — but it’s so hard to do it with words. So create a mood board and use images, color palettes, textures, and typography. Mood boards are also perfect for gathering inspiration and sketching out and pitching ideas, and they’re not just for designers — your content writers, sales teams, and product teams can use them too, and this template makes it easy for all of you to get started.
Card sorting is a brainstorming technique typically used by design teams but applicable to any brainstorm or team. The method is designed to facilitate more efficient and creative brainstorms. In a card sorting exercise, you and your team create groups out of content, objects, or ideas. You begin by labeling a deck of cards with information related to the topic of the brainstorm. Working as a group or individuals, you then sort the cards in a way that makes sense to you, then label each group with a short description. Card sorting allows you to form unexpected but meaningful connections between ideas.
Customer Problem Statement
A company of any size or kind needs to be able to make its case—by clearly articulating how its product will meet customers’ needs. A customer problem statement will help make that case a compelling one. How? You’ll dive into your customers’ thoughts and feelings, which ups your odds of creating something they will find valuable. And a problem statement does more than deliver big for your customers—it helps your teams align around a common, clearly defined goal, and feel invested in achieving it.
How Now Wow Matrix
There are no bad ideas in a brainstorm — but some are more original and easier to implement. The How Now Wow matrix is a tool that helps you identify and organize those great ideas, as well as reinvigorates your team to think creatively and take risks (a taller order as you scale). Grab this template to create your own matrix, then rank the ideas you generated in a brainstorm as “How” (difficult to implement), “Now” (easy to implement), or “Wow” (both original and easy to implement).
A team charter is a document that outlines your team’s purpose and objectives, as well as steps you will take to reach your goals. The team charter illustrates the focus and direction for all team members. When created collaboratively, the team charter is a great way for individuals to feel even more connected to one another within the group. A team charter template is useful when you’re first establishing a new team, adding new members to an existing team, or when you need to better align regardless of your team’s tenure.
A big step in keeping your company on a secure path is to know how different elements and factors might affect you, in the near term and in the future. These include political, economic, social, and technological factors — and a PEST Analysis helps you identify and prepare for them. With this easy-to-use template, you can conduct a PEST Analysis, then use the results to shape your strategic planning, budget allocation, marketing, product updates, and organizational change initiatives.