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Street Law, Inc.

Over 40 years of educating about law, democracy, and human rights


Brainstorming is a well-known and widely used interactive method. It encourages participants to use their imaginations and be creative. It helps elicit numerous solutions to any given problem (i.e.., What should I do in this situation? How can we overcome this obstacle?).

rules for brainstorming
  1. No evaluation of any kind is allowed in a brainstorming session. If you judge and evaluate ideas as they are expressed, people will focus more on defending their ideas than on thinking up new and better ones. Evaluation must be ruled out.
  2. Everyone is encouraged to brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Wild ideas should be encouraged. (If a range of ideas is not forthcoming in a brainstorming session, it may be because the participants are censoring their ideas.)
  3. Quantity of ideas should be encouraged to build upon or modify the idea of others. Combining or modifying previously suggested ideas often leads to new, better ideas.
  1. Seat the participants informally.
  2. Provide a flip chart pad or paper for recording ideas.
  3. State the problem that needs to be addressed.
  4. State the ground rules:
    • No evaluation of ideas is allowed.
    • Free‑wheeling thinking is encouraged—no idea is too crazy.
    • The more ideas the better—strive for quantity.
    • Build upon the ideas of others
  5. Ask for ideas and record them as fast as they come. Do not edit.
  6. If using chart paper, hang it on the wall with masking tape.
  7. Encourage new ideas by adding your own.
  8. Discourage derisive laughter, comments, or ridicule of any ideas.
  9. Continue as long as the ideas keep coming.
  10. At the conclusion, discuss and evaluate the ideas generated.
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