3 Idea Generating Methods Better than Brainstorming

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While a common approach to generating ideas, brainstorming can only generate so many ideas. Other methods might lead to deeper investigation, and create higher quality solutions

Provocation Creative Technique

The creative provocation method fires up my creative problem-solving. In this method, you’re not simply brainstorming. Instead, you’re challenging the problem in a completely new manner.

The method often creates radical and unrealistic solutions to solve a problem. However, by exploring complex solutions, simple ones become more evident. I love this method because it forces you to look at a situation differently than the obvious. You end up learning a lot more about the problem’s root issue than you might think.

Provocation Thinking explores deeper ideas.

Brainstorming hinders deeper thinking.

Brain Dump

My second favorite method to generate possible solutions includes brain dumping. In this method, you grab your favorite pen and an empty sheet of paper and write every idea that comes to mind.

This method works terrific once you set a ten-minute time limit, and as you dump all ideas out of your head and onto the paper, new ideas will emerge. Keep writing ideas as they come out, and towards the end of the time limit, you’ll have various ideas.

The next step is to share your findings with other people, gather feedback, and repeat the process until a solution arises.

Mind Mapping

An example mind map demonstrates the non-divergent thought process.

Another excellent method to generate ideas features the classic mind mapping method. In this technique, researchers focus on a core topic and branch out to as many related issues as possible. The process is repeated continuously until an extensive collection of ideas has been generated.

Once a mind map has been created, pathways for solutions become more evident.

Ideation Methods in Practice

My last post outlines the need to define the problem with point-of-view statements and how might we statements, particularly examining issues that plague video hosting platforms.

I thought I’d further demonstrate how the brain dump and provocative creative thinking methods could generate solutions identified in the last post. I looked at each point of view statement that I crafted and attempted to create possible solutions companies like Vimeo, YouTube, and Tik Tok could solve user-based issues.

Solutions to improve Vimeo’s cell phone application by brain dumping and using the provocative thinking method.


In my research of user feedback on Apple’s App Store, many users inferred they were confused about its purpose. While the application is designed chiefly for content producers, many people are using the application as a viewing platform and find the current app design not user-friendly.

Vimeo users who view video content need technical assistance because navigation needs further strengthening and simplifying.

Vimeo POV Statement

Braindump Results

I set a ten-minute timer and attempted to generate as many ideas as possible. The session included the following solutions:

  • Redesign the Vimeo App to feature Vimeo content made by other users.
  • Reconstruct home page to include popular and trending Vimeo content.
  • Relabel tabs to differentiate from producer tools and viewer tools. For example, relabel “Videos” to “My Video.”
  • Prominently displaying the Watch tab so users can locate it easily.
  • Embedding “Analytics” tab with a “Creator” tab.
  • Update app store description with language that represents who the application is made for.
  • Update marketing and advertisements to target content producers.
Results of the brain dump allowed me to sketch a redesigned application that addresses the concerns of many users.

Provocative Thinking Results

Vimeo assumes application users currently understand what the company does and how to use the Vimeo app. However, I’d challenge this assumption and question if users genuinely understand utilizing the application. I get the feeling many people experience confusion when using this application. 

Many Vimeo users are not producing content but users who want to view content. A solution would be to create two applications that producers can use and another application that users can use to consume Vimeo content. 

Different users can use both applications to fulfill their needs by creating two various applications. My thought on this solution comes from the website Etsy, which manages two other applications, one for consumers and one for sellers.

Other Results

I completed this ideation session for the five other POV Statements I generated for Vimeo, YouTube, and TikTok. You can view the rest of the report below.

The next step in this design practice includes prototyping and testing solutions to see if the ideas solve the problem.

Looking for a new creative method for your next project? Consider using these methods to kickstart your idea generation!

More Resources

About the Author
About the Author

Drew Furtado is an Emmy Award winning filmmaker, and leader of a nationally recognized high school media arts communication department .

He develops guides and strategies for nonprofit and educational organizations to improve and grow their social media presence, website development, and communication practices that best engages audiences.

New Bedford, Massachusetts

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