Brainstorming with Post It Notes

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Brainstorming is a key process in any kind of design process; whether that be designing a logo for a small business or creating an entire ad campaign for Coca-Cola. Not just that, but it can also be used for the planning stage of practically anything – from crafting something for the home through to starting your own business. It is essential to learn the different ways you can brainstorm ideas. We’re going to take a look at using post-it notes in this section, with a variety of methods and ideas you can put into practice.

How it Works

This is a ‘nominal group technique’ version of brainstorming. (“Nominal group” means that people are nominally in a group but mostly work on their own)

  1. Each group member is given either a pad of Post-it Notes or a set number of Post-its – perhaps six or seven. Alternatively you can use 5×3 index cards instead of Post-it Notes.
  2. Using a thick marker pen, they write one idea on each Post-it Note
  3. When time is called, each person announces their ideas to the whole group, and posts his or her Post-it Notes on a large sheet of paper taped to the wall
  4. The Post-it Notes are then clustered by the facilitator or two volunteers, and the clusters are named
  5. Finally, the facilitator asks: “Is that everything? Do you want to add any more ideas or suggest new categories?”

A twist you can add to Brainstorming with Post-it Notes:

  1. Group members are given a certain number of Post-it Notes (perhaps 12), one of which is pink
  2. One of the ideas proposed by each group member must be outrageous. (See Wildest Idea Session.) This idea is written on the pink Post-it Note
  3. When the ideas have been announced and clustered, the facilitator goes through the pink ideas one at a time and uses them to stimulate feasible ideas
Brainstorming with post-it notes

Photo by Aleksi Aaltonen