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This non-verbal brain storming method will generate a huge number of ideas within a short period of time.

< 24 pers.

10 min.

6.3.5. template


Participants are first introduced to the brain storming subject and are invited to keep in mind the following principles:

  1. Our aim is to generate as many ideas as possible.
  2. Do not comment upon ideas expressed by others; under no circumstances may you criticise another person’s idea.
  3. Make use of the ideas expressed by others and use them as a springboard for developing new ideas.
  4. Focus on new and unorthodox ideas.
  5. Avoid stating general intentions; focus on concrete actions.

Participants are then divided into groups of six people. Each group member receives a copy of the handout “6.3.5.”: 6 participants, 3 ideas, 5 minutes.

  • In the first row (1.1, 1.2, 1.3) each participant writes down three ideas with regard to the brain storming topic.
  • After five minutes the trainer asks the participants to pass their handout clockwise to the next person.
  • Participants read what their neighbours have written and write in the second row (2.1, 2.2., 2.3) three new ideas or develop the existing ideas further. Stress that there is no point in repeating ideas that have already been written down.
  • After five minutes the trainer signals the participants to again pass their handouts clockwise to the next person.
  • This process is repeated four more times.

Give participants time to skim through all the ideas and select three to five of their favourite ideas to advance to the analysis/implementation phase.


The number of ideas generated with this method by far exceeds what can be achieved in a traditional brain storming session. Another advantage of this method is that everybody is involved in the process.

If people start talking during the task, it will spoil the creative atmosphere for the rest of the group. It is therefore important to stress that this exercise is carried out individually and in silence.

Participants should be prevented from exchanging their handouts before the trainer gives the signal to do so, otherwise it will create stress for those who have not yet finished writing down their three ideas. It should also be stressed that this is not a competition or an exam. It does not matter if somebody cannot come up with three ideas in a round; he/she should just continue focusing on the task and maybe in the next round, after reading more ideas put forward by his/her colleagues, new ideas will arise.


Image: 6-3-5 template

This work by Toms Urdze is licensed under
CC BY-SA 4.0