Brain Tracks for Your Toolbox

Ideation Strategies To Help You Facilitate Like Pro

Leading a brainstorm?  Try using a re-framing exercise to reach more uncommon ideas fast. 

Here are a few of our favorite brain tracks. Each designed to travel brains down a familiar, hyper-specific, yet totally unexpected  thinking track.  To continue the train metaphor… it’s a window seat to a small, but different set of existing ideas to hitch to our business challenge.

Let us know how they work!  And check back often - we're also building/sharing new tracks. 

Track #1: Five Senses

Reframe a brainstorm challenge by demanding solutions that satisfy a specific human sense - sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

Facilitator Says:

  • Let's think of ideas/solutions to our challenge that would satisfy human sense of taste.  

Intially, expect the ideas to be nonsense.  That's how this one works. But don't let the group switch to a new sense until the ideas - nonsense or not -  completely stop flowing.  Eventually, the brains will stop thinking of ideas in the literal "sense" - (i.e. let's hold a series of dinner parties to announce new product or build world's largest pizza) and move to metaphorical interpretations of "taste."

For example, ideas about taste could:

  • Be relevant to style, showing good/bad taste
  • Relate  "sampling" a brand experience
  • Use influencers or "tastemakers"
  • Involve strategic "pairings"
  • Feed a cause

If your group is new to brainstorming - here are some prompts to help them interpret "senses" beyond the literal:

Sense of Sight: 

  • Brainstorm solution that must be seen to believed.  Brainstorm solution that can be seen from far away - like space.   Brainstorm solution that must be viewed up close.  Brainstorm solution that not everyone can see…

Sense of Hearing:

  • Brainstorm solution that involves music. Solution that is “overheard.” Solution that involves moments of silence.

Sense of Smell:

  • Brainstorm solution that smells like _____. Is there opportunity for Scratch n Sniff technology?  What might cause a stink?

Sense of Touch:

  • Brainstorm solution that audience can actually touch? How might solution encourage audience to reach out to others?  What can we do that’s touchy/feely?  Is there a way to motivate audience to tag their friends and family?

Sense of Taste:

  • How might we make solution edible? What solution would be in good taste?   How might we involve tastemakers?  What incentive (spoon full of sugar) should we offer?

This game is fun played with 5 cards that have either eyes, nose, hand, tongue, ear on each.  Or if you’re creating b’storm box, easy to find individual “squishy” or even gummy body parts on Amazon.

Adjective/Adverb Track


Apply random adjective or adverb to your brainstorm challenge or solution – see what emerges.

Brainstormers given list of (at least 25) descriptive adjectives/adverbs.  Ones used to describe “extremes” work best.  For example:  Cowardly, Polite, Greedy, Flawless, Transparent, Courageous, Nerdy, Mysterious, Repulsive, Rude, Hilarious, Sweaty, Gaudy, Speedy, Geriatric, Iridescent…

Brainstormers try to generate an idea that embodies that adv/adj.  adverb to inspire an idea.