Creative Problem Solving:


10 Brainstorming Rules

A Team-Based Creative Thinking Technique


Vadim Kotelnikov personal logo Vadim Kotelnikov

Founder, Ten3 Business e-Coach – Inspiration and Innovation Unlimited!




10 Brainstorming Rules

  1. Set directions. Describe the situation and define the problem. Help people to understand the problem to be solved and clarify the objectives. Focus on productive objectives and keep group on track.

4 Types of Problems

Problem Solving Strategies: 4 Levels

  1. Stay focused. Keep the group focused on the task at hand. Don’t let Idea sessions dissolve into wandering. When unrelated topics come up, put them on a special list to be discussed another time.

  2. Involve everyone. Encourage everyone to contribute. Control dominating participants. Celebrate diversity. Use various techniques to draw ideas from group.

Solving People Problems

  1. Encourage outside-the-box thinking. Challenge assumptions. Be creative. Go crazy. The wilder the ideas the better. Sometimes the wildest ideas lead to great ones. Step out of your shoes to surface new insights. ("What if you were a cat, or a film scenario writer – how would you solve the problem?"). Encourage active listening.

Creative Problem Solving: Switching Perceptions

  1. Look for the overlooked obvious – the obvious solution is sometimes the best.

  2. Encourage cross-fertilization. Build on each other. Let others' ideas take you somewhere else. Combine, synergize, and improve upon ideas.

  3. Suspend judgment. No ideas are bad ideas. All ideas are good ideas. (Actually, a minority opinion offered during group decision making often stimulates more innovative solutions to a problem).

  4. Allow repetitions. At different moments you see with different eyes. During discussion afterwards the duplicate ideas you may find them different or they may trigger a different response at a different time.

  5. Don't stop and discuss. Go for quantity, not quality. Keep the momentum going.

  6. Record and display each idea. Make sure each idea is complete – don't use one-word descriptions to avoid misunderstanding. Don't edit.

Post-Brainstorming Rapid Evaluation of Ideas

Use fast idea evaluation techniques such as 80/20 Principle and perceptual positions to select the best ideas. Look through your list of ideas and circle the 20% that will yield 80% of the results you are looking for. Encourage full-spectrum thinking.




How To Run a Brainstorming Session

Brainstorming Techniques

Manage Collective Tacit and Explicit Knowledge

BIG: IT-powered Brainstorming for SMEs

Challenging Assumptions

"Why?" and "What If?" Questions

Tips for Challenging Assumptions

Tips for Adopting a Different Point of View

Be-Different Success Stories

Assumptions Quotes

Idea Management

Kaizen Mindset

Managing Creativity

Loose-Tight Leadership

Techniques for Fast Idea Evaluation

80/20 Principle

Six Thinking Hats: Analyzing Proposals

Creative Problem Solving (CPS)

4 Levels of Problem Solving

6-Step Creative Problem Solving Process

How To Turn Problems To Opportunities

Questions for CPS

Asking Searching Questions



Lateral Thinking

Systems Thinking

Systemic Thinking


Making Big Changes