Brainstorming sucks; try some different ways to create ideas

I finally gave in and admitted it: Brainstorming sucks.

This was difficult for me, because I’ve been in brainstorming sessions that worked virtual miracles, the surfaced ideas that astounded us with their clarity and brilliance.

But let me be realistic: For every great brainstorming session I’ve experienced, I’ve been in several that were soul-sucking, time-wasting monstrosities that killed ideas, sapped enthusiasm, and left us worse off than we were without the brainstorming.

Because brainstorming sucks. Here are some ideas from the Design School blog to do it better, at 4 Reasons You Can’t Brainstorm Creative Ideas – And What You Should Do Instead:


  • Take baby steps. Small ideas that can add up to big ideas are a lot more realistic to achieve.
  • Use analogies. Attack the problem by thinking in analogies about what you’re working on,
  • Allow people time. Instead of one big, high-pressure meeting where you must produce great ideas, have a series of smaller, less-important meetings. With time doing other stuff in between.
  • Brainwrite instead of Brainstorm.

The great brainstorming sessions I’ve been in have been populated with experienced idea-makers who like to play. Absent inexperienced thinkers, early-concluders, and clock-watchers who don’t enjoy the crazy give-and-take of true brainstorming.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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