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Brainstorming is a method for stimulating creativity and has been applied and adapted across hundreds of contexts. The goal of brainstorming is to create a judgement free space and generate a list based on a leading prompt or question.

When it comes to teams, brainstorming can be a highly effective tool for building trust and showing everyone their contributions matter.

The following ground rules and facilitator tips are meant to serve as a starting point. Explore what works for you and adapt the process to support the specific goals and cultural context of your team.

Ground rules

Setting context and getting buy-in is foundational for a successful brainstorming session. Whether it’s on slides or chart-paper, make the ground-rules visible so that everyone can see. Before facilitating the brainstorming session, stress the importance of creating a judgement free space and ask if anyone would like to modify the ground-rules.

Brainstorming facilitator tips


1. The person who coined the term “brainstorming” as a method for fostering collective creativity was Alex Osborne.

2. Adapted from Sam Kaner’s book, Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 2007

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