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Tools and Methods to Brainstorm Business and Product Ideas

Start, build and maintain competitive advantage through product design. At the heart of every e-commerce or drop shipping venture is a product that customers want/need. Finding winning business & product ideas can seem impossible with more entrepreneurs jumping on the bandwagon every day.

Nobody can tell you what will sell. That's not what this post is about. This guide is here to help you develop your critical thinking abilities and provide you with methods and tools to brainstorm ideas effectively both independently and as part of a team.

This guide is intended for aspiring entrepreneurs, business people, dropshippers and anyone who wants to develop their idea generation skills through effective brainstorming.




Brainstorming Tools

Are you working from home? Working with someone remote to you? No problem. We have provided a valuable list of tools that you can use to brainstorm electronically.



IdeaBoardz

Ideaboardz allows you to collaborate and brainstorm with your team remotely. Share your IdeaBoardz URL with your teammates, and off you go; it's that easy to collaborate. Team members can share their thoughts and ideas in sticky notes, which other team members critique. As data is stored in the cloud, you can always return to a previous session or export them as a PDF.







MindMup


MindMup is a free online mind mapping tool that allows you to capture your ideas quickly and flow logically. MindMup uses keyboard shortcuts to enable you to work quickly, and you can link, unlink and reposition your thoughts to allow you to stay on task.

The google addon Mindmup 2, integrates well with Google apps to allow you to work collaboratively with your team and share ideas effectively. For a simple, easy to use mind mapping tool, you cannot overlook MindMup.








Discord


Discord is a highly recommended tool. Discord is a free voice, video and text app used by millions worldwide. With discord, you can create private servers, voice chats and text chats to share and explore ideas. Although mainly used by the gaming community, discord has a lot of potential in work environments and the best part… It's free!








Zoom


Since 2020, more people are moving to a more online way of thinking, learning and working. Zoom has been a vital tool to connect people virtually through video conference calling.

Additionally, zoom has many tools to assist in brainstorming, such as the whiteboard tool, video recording tool, screen casting and more!








Pinterest


Pinterest is a creative platform where many artists and designers share their ideas. Pinterest is incredible for creating mood boards, and sharing ideas and inspiration throughout your team.








Brainstorming Methods


The best brainstorming strategy involves involving a large group of people from multiple backgrounds to all contribute ideas without bias. Using this strategy allows you to capture views from different perspectives, covering a more extensive range of ideas than you would have been able to produce yourself. After a couple of wines or coffees, the ideas will begin to flow, and the best part, when done in a group, brainstorming is a blast! When done correctly, brainstorming can help you generate hundreds of ideas in a short period of time.





However… Not all generated ideas will be good (especially on the wines!). So to follow up on this method, your team should run a screening process which we will get into later during the guide. To make the best out of your brainstorming session, here are some helpful strategies to get the brain juices flowing:


Coming up with a List of Bad & Impractical Ideas


This allows everyone in the room to feel comfortable about sharing their ideas. Creating an environment where everyone is comfortable with sharing their thoughts is essential. Thinking of throwaway ideas will help lighten up the room and ensure everyone feels comfortable. ​ This method is effective in most scenarios and can act as an icebreaker when talking to those you don't know very well.



Create a Mood Board:


Using images, colours, and special arrangements can help to spark fresh ideas. Mood boards are great for allowing you to collect thoughts, ideas, colour schemes and moods for your new ideas. Mood boards are fantastic for allowing you to visualise your ideas as you come up with them. This method is most effective when you have a general idea of the product you want to create.


Play Improv Games:


Brainstorming should be fun! Playing improv games with your team can get the creative juices quickly and come up with some great ideas. Extra points if you and your team can put yourselves in the mind of your target market consumer. What problems do they have? What issues need solving? This method is a fun take on brainstorming and can help your team generate a list of relevant product ideas. For improv games to be most effective, it is best to pair the activity with a traditional brainstorming session, so your team doesn't get off track.

More Methods:

We suggest checking out the Hubspot article "8 Brainstorming Ideas to Inspire Brilliant Pitches" for a more comprehensive look into brainstorming methods.