How to make a brainstorming session? Complete Guide


brainstorming how to make


You probably have already heard the following sentence: “two heads are better than one”. If so, you need to learn how to make a brainstorming session and understand the importance of this method for your business success. 

A brainstorming session will definitely help you and your team to find new business ideas in a collaborative way. 

Keep reading and find out more! 

What is brainstorming?

Brainstorming is an effective method that encourages team members to freely come up with thoughts and ideas that eventually can become the solution to different problems or jams.  

Alex Osborn created this methodology in 1942, aiming to identify problems and find out their respectives causes and solutions. Also, he developed it to explore the participants’ creativity in order to discover new ideas.

Contrary to popular belief, brainstorming should not be conducted as a casual chat where ideas come out of nowhere. 

It is essential to create a proper atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable to make contributions. In order to do so, a mediator uses a script to guide the different stages of the brainstorming session.    

Brainstorming belongs to the planning stage of the PDCA cycle, that focuses on Process Analysis and Action Plan. Thus, it is possible to determine the causes behind general problems and also create effective action plans to solve these challenges.

The planning stage also includes the establishment of the Goal/Problem Identification and Phenomenon Analysis, which doesn’t quite fit in brainstorming, as it focuses on a deeper analysis or discovery of the problem.

How to make a brainstorming session?

Are you excited to learn how to make a brainstorming session? Let’s go!

A successful brainstorming meeting should have a coordinator to manage the four stages of the process. 

Ideally, this person is someone with experience on the main subject in order to provide a detailed explanation of each stage. This is essential to ensure a clear and organized process.

The coordinator should also guarantee a suitable environment so that all contributions are respected and everyone can freely express their opinions.

Brainstorming can be divided into 4 stages

A brainstorming session should last 50 minutes or less. This prevents the activity from becoming tiring or that participants struggle to pay attention. If it is not possible to shorten the meetings, you can divide the process into several stages or encounters. 

Although it’s important, you don’t have to strictly use the 4 stages sequence proposed for the brainstorming. However, applying a script and dividing the activity in sessions is essential to guarantee the people’s involvement in the whole process. 

brainstorming how to make
Illustration of light bulb ideas

Let’s see how to make a brainstorming meeting step by step:

1.  Problem/Goal Explanation

The coordinator explains what is the goal or problem to be analyzed. He or she must provide all available information about the issue in a didactic way.

Next, it is advisable to consider all the factors that influence the problem as well as different perspectives that involve the cause as its solution. 

In this stage, the Ishikawa diagram, also known as Fishbone diagram, can be used to illustrate possible causes with a graphic representation of the problem. The diagram can be made as follows:

brainstorming how to make
Source: Wiki Commons

2. Determination of the causes

This stage of the brainstorming session identifies and organizes, in a democratic way, the possible causes behind the issue. Everyone has the same opportunities to share their point of view. 

The coordinator must encourage the collaborators to reflect on these possible causes by exchanging information and solving any doubts about the problem.

Generally, the person in charge distributes post-its, so all participants can write down what they think about the possible causes that can influence the situation. It’s key that everyone has a chance to express their opinions freely and without fear of derogatory judgment.

3. Hierarchy of causes

Following on this guide on how to make a brainstorming session is to establish the hierarchy of possible causes. 

After reading the possible causes, participants must determine their impact and reflect on them. At the same time, the coordinator can use the 5 Whys method to find the root of the mentioned problems.

Papers or post-its can also be helpful at this stage to write some notes down. Thus, if two or more people have written the same cause, it may be considered as a priority.

After that, the coordinator reads what has been written and hierarchizes the issues by relevance, subject, etc. This is why it’s so important to choose a coordinator that really understands the subject.

However, if he or she wishes to be completely democratic, he or she may hold a vote among the participants to hierarchize the causes.

4. Creating the action plan

Finally, it’s time to create solutions to work out the situation and generate new insights for problem solving. At this point, it’s important to question which of these actions will have the most impact and also which are the easiest, fastest, cheapest, etc.

It is possible at this stage to distribute papers and post-its to participants again, so they can write down what they believe is necessary to solve the situation. 

If the actions are very dissimilar, it may be a sign that the causes have not yet been well determined. Therefore, it may be interesting to go back to the previous stage. 

If the opinions all align up, it’s a sign that brainstorming is successful and that these insights also need to be hierarchized.

At this point, it’s advisable to use the 5W2H methodology, which consists of asking some questions about the problem, such as:

  • what; 
  • why; 
  • where; 
  • who;
  • when; 
  • how; 
  • how much.


Increase employee’s engagement


Low collaborator ‘s performance? Employee turnover is higher than expected?


Encouraging an organizational culture that welcomes and inspires collaborators to improve performance.


Throughout the organization.


CEOs, managers, collaborators, etc.


Since the beginning of the brainstorming session.

How much?

Establish how much the business engagement actions will cost.

Next steps

Now you know a bit more on how to conduct a brainstorming session. Always remember:

  • focus on each stage of the process;
  • pay special attention to everyone’s opinion equally;
  • make steady efforts to maintain order. 

As a result, the whole process will be enriching and positive for everyone.

In unsuccessful brainstorming sessions, some mistakes are usually noticed in the sessions’ development. For instance, team’s dispersion or low levels of  insights from those involved are very frequent.

Thus, the coordinator must guarantee that the social dynamics are not preventing participants’ freedom to express themselves. When something like this happens, there is no way to keep the brainstorming session going.

A strategic planning system can help you engage the team and boost results with visual features. It allows integrated KPI follow-up and central data storage in order to support decision making.

That said, if you need some help to get the right metrics and the necessary amount of  information needed for a successful brainstorm session, you must consider STRATWs One.  

This cooperative management performance software is the perfect tool for your business effective operations. Ask for a free demonstration of STRATWs One:

demon How to make a brainstorming session? Complete Guide