Imagine being part of a large group of people shouting ideas to each other. This is what a regular brainstorming session looks like!

Though helpful for complex problems and informal idea-generation, brainstorming has its disadvantages. Often important ideas get lost in the crowd and not everyone gets a chance to put forth their views.

So how can you improve your brainstorming sessions to ensure that everyone gets the floor? Try using the brainwriting technique as an alternative—or supplement—to brainstorming.

Let’s examine the brainwriting technique and see how it can help teams generate profitable ideas.

What Is Brainwriting?

Brainwriting is an advanced version of brainstorming where, instead of face-to-face conversations, participants write down their ideas on a piece of paper.

Incorporating brainwriting as part of your brainstorming sessions can result in effective and creative ideas. It gives everyone a chance to share what they think, discuss ideas without interruption and design plans for the future.

The process of brainwriting should start with a set of questions to get everyone on the same page. These questions set the agenda and explain the reason for the meeting.

Alternatively, you can ideate by turn. Ask someone to write down their idea on a piece of paper and then pass it on. Each subsequent person then adds to the original idea, creating an idea map that everyone can follow.

Not only will you end up with a bunch of credible ideas, but you will also get to explore different verticals in the context of sub-ideas. Brainwriting can be anonymous so that everyone can participate without fear of judgment.

Advantages Of Brainwriting

The brainwriting technique aids innovation, builds creativity in groups and encourages communication. There are many advantages of brainwriting that make it a popular choice when it comes to sharing and generating new and improved ideas.

Here are some benefits:

  1. It’s the most effective strategy for large groups where people tend to get overlooked. Members can simply write down their ideas on a piece of paper, which can be collected at the end of the session.

  2. It’s a better technique for people who are shy and prefer to stay quiet in group meetings. They get a chance to share their thoughts without having to be under the spotlight.

  3. Brainstorming sessions usually require a facilitator because the meetings can run wild. But brainwriting is organized, with every team-member jotting down their ideas without waiting for any outside intervention.

  4. It’s an effective way to generate a large number of ideas prior to a discussion. You can sift through the best ones after everyone has made their contribution.

  5. In a hierarchical structure, it’s difficult for junior employees to be open about their ideas. Anonymous brainwriting is a practical solution to this problem.

Brainwriting is best used as an addendum to a brainstorming session so you can reap the benefits of both techniques. If you can weave both techniques into your ideation meetings, you’ll end up with a treasure trove of inventive and resourceful solutions.

Elements Of Brainwriting Technique

Brainwriting can be used to generate diverse sets of ideas that can be compared and contrasted later. If you want several perspectives on a single problem, brainwriting can help you get started. There are other types of brainwriting techniques that you may use:

  1. Virtual Brainwriting

Conducting a virtual brainwriting session is most helpful when you’re working remotely. You can use a spreadsheet or an online program like Google Drive to share ideas with your team members. The file can be shared with everyone on the team so they can add or edit whenever they like.

  1. 6-3-5 Brainwriting

The 6-3-5 brainwriting technique was developed by Bernd Rohrbach in 1968 to promote creativity in groups. In this technique, six participants are asked to write three ideas on a sheet in five minutes. The concept is based on individual contributions that eventually lead to collective results. A group can generate almost 108 ideas with the 6-3-5 technique.

Based on your needs and requirements, you can deploy either a regular brainwriting technique or any of the other two. It’s a quick, streamlined and exciting way to get your creative juices flowing and come up with award-winning ideas.

If you want to learn more about creativity in groups and brainwriting, Harappa Education’s Unleashing Creativity course is here to help. In this course, you can pick up tips and tricks on brainstorming and virtual ideation. Solve real-world problems with our innovation and design-thinking course.


Explore topics such as What is BrainstormingBrainstorming TechniquesCreative ThinkingConvergent vs Divergent Thinking & Lateral Thinking from Harappa Diaries and develop ways to get your creative juices flowing.

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