Brainstorming allows participants to share lots of ideas quickly and without fear. This is a useful way to encourage creative thinking and dialogue.

Here’s how to organise an effective brainstorming activity:

Select a topic and ask the group to share their ideas. For example, ‘What activities could we undertake to raise awareness of our campaign?’ or ‘What do we think are the drivers of conflict?’

Write the participants’ ideas on a large sheet of paper. Tell the group that, for now, we are not making judgements on whether we agree or disagree with the ideas. This will encourage participants to get involved.

While brainstorming is normally used in groups, it is also a great tool for individuals to use when working on personal goals and projects.

Once the group has provided a wide range of ideas, work with them to cluster, discuss and focus on points of interest.

An approach to brainstorming might be to:

  • Focus on quantity – Consider all the possibilities and perspectives. Build many ideas in a short time.
  • Withhold criticism – Removing criticism from the equation creates an environment to freely share thoughts and ideas without fear of judgment for it being considered “wrong” or “stupid.”
  • Welcome unusual ideas – this might help to avoid creative burnout and encourages inclusivity. When people no longer fear criticism, they are more likely to not only share more ideas but share fun and ridiculous ideas. Unusual ideas are key to brainstorming and need to be heard.
  • Combine, build on and improve ideas – this fosters collaboration, creativity and innovation.  Build on ideas. Obviously, a class won’t be able to accomplish every idea, but you can use those for inspiration.  Combining concepts to create new solutions. Evaluate each idea to determine which are feasible, innovative, and best suited to accomplish your goal. Piggyback on those ideas, suggest improvements or similar alternatives. No one idea is infallible. Even if it isn’t your original idea, that doesn’t mean that you can’t help make it better.

Reference:  adapted from

Online adaptation:  there are many online tools for brainstorming.  Some examples are: Trello, Slack, MindMeister, Google Meet, Padlet, HeyHi’s online whiteboard but most teaching platforms such as zoom and teams also have chat and whiteboard functions which can be used.