• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

INTRODUCTION > Idea Generation Tools

Idea Generation Tools

Now you understand that there is more to the team creative process than simply generating ideas. Ideation must come after the team has determined the kinds of ideas you are looking for—ideas that will solve the right problem. Once you have your challenge question in mind, however, your team is ready to start generating and innovating ideas. To assist your team in this second stage of the team creative process, this book presents three kinds of tools:

Warm-ups to get the creative juices flowing

Idea generation tools to maximize creative output

Energizers that reinvigorate the group and increase group concentration

Let’s look at these tools in more detail to understand the workings of each in the ideate stage.


A warm-up is an activity that gets your group’s creative juices flowing, thus helping to create the mind-set for generating ideas. Using these warm-ups will promote and support lateral, generative, and divergent thinking. In other words, they will help your group think “out of the box” and get ready to generate lots of ideas. They are also just plain fun.

Warm-ups are:

Quick to explain. Only a few statements should be required to get a warm-up going. It is always a good idea to include an example. Warm-ups can last anywhere from two to 20 minutes.

Easy to do. Make sure the activity is one everyone can do easily.

Winners for everyone. No one should feel like a “losers” in a warm-up.

Involving. Everyone should have a chance to be part of the warm-up.

Not forced. Team members should have the option to contribute. Don’t make a team member feel bad for not wanting to “play.”

Idea Generation Tools

These tools are used to generate lots of ideas. Their purpose is to maximize creative output—answers to a problem or challenge. The more ideas generated, the greater the possibility of finding the “great idea.” Quantity breeds quality.

There are three basic kinds of idea generation tools:

Collecting ideas tools: Tools for gathering ideas generated outside the meeting time

“Low hanging” idea tools: Tools for getting top-of-mind ideas

“Out of the box” idea tools: Tools for getting people to think outside of their ordinary patterns to generate more creative ideas

The key guidelines typically include the following:

No judging (of group or self)

“Free wheeling” is encouraged

Quantity is wanted (go for quantity, not quality)

Combining and improving on other ideas (piggybacking) is encouraged

Hints on using tools: Allow time up front for people to generate ideas individually before embarking on group time. This is especially helpful for analytical thinkers and those who prefer some time to “process” information. It also prevents groupthink.


An energizer is an activity that reinvigorates the group and increases focus. Use an energizer when you feel the group is less able to do the tasks because people seem to be tired or lacking enthusiasm. If energy is low, it is often best to stop a meeting to insert an energizer, to increase the group’s productivity. You can also use an energizer to close a meeting on a high note.

Just like warm-ups, energizers should:

Be quick to explain

Be easy to do

Involve everyone

Be voluntary, not forced

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint