What is brainwriting: A quick guide to boost creative collaboration

What is brainwriting: A quick guide to boost creative collaboration

Imagine walking into a room where the air buzzes with creativity, and everyone is eager to innovate. That’s the power of brainwriting. Whether you’re a seasoned manager or just starting out, understanding and utilizing creative tools like brainwriting can significantly enhance your team’s ability to generate fresh, actionable ideas. This guide is tailored for anyone curious about embracing this inventive technique to foster collaborative creativity in any workspace.

Understanding the Concept of Brainwriting

So, let’s dive right in—what exactly is brainwriting? Picture this: a group of people, all armed with pens and paper, silently scribbling down their ideas. Unlike brainstorming, where ideas are shouted out loud, brainwriting involves writing them down. This small twist makes a big difference. It levels the playing field, allowing every participant, regardless of their speaking confidence, to contribute equally. The result? A richer tapestry of ideas, less affected by common cognitive biases that often plague verbal sessions.

Brainwriting not only democratizes the idea generation process but also enhances the diversity and quantity of contributions. It’s perfect for groups where dynamic personalities can sometimes overshadow quieter voices, ensuring that every thought is captured and considered without bias.

Origins of Brainwriting

The concept of brainwriting isn’t new; it first emerged in the late 1960s as a forward-thinking alternative to brainstorming. Over the decades, it has been adapted into various formats and has found a foothold across multiple sectors like technology, education, and marketing. It’s praised for its flexibility and effectiveness in drawing out a wide range of thoughts and solutions from groups.

The Brainwriting Process

Here’s how you can implement brainwriting in your next creative session:

  1. Define the Problem: Kick things off with a clear, concise problem statement. This will focus the group’s creative energies.
  2. Generate Ideas: Have each participant independently jot down their ideas on paper. This step emphasizes private thought, allowing for unbiased creativity.
  3. Share Ideas: Next, either pass these ideas around the table or pin them onto a communal board. The choice depends on what works best for your group’s dynamics.
  4. Build Upon Ideas: Participants then add to or refine the ideas they receive. This collaborative expansion can lead to unexpectedly innovative solutions.
  5. Discuss and Refine: Finally, bring everyone together to discuss the ideas openly. Evaluate and refine them into viable solutions.

Remember, the golden rule of brainwriting is that there are no bad ideas during the initial stages. The key to its success lies in fostering an open, supportive, and non-judgmental environment where creativity can flourish without barriers.

Variations of Brainwriting

Brainwriting isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach; it’s wonderfully adaptable to the needs of any team or project. One standout method is the 6-3-5 brainwriting technique, named after its structured approach: 6 participants come up with 3 ideas each, all within 5 minutes. The ideas are then shared and refined through several rounds. This rapid-fire approach can yield a multitude of evolved ideas in a remarkably short time. If you’re looking to get started, why not check out Miro’s Brainwriting Template? It’s designed to streamline the process and make your sessions as productive as possible.

Best Practices for Brainwriting

To maximize the effectiveness of brainwriting, consider these best practices:

  • Set Clear Objectives: Before beginning a brainwriting session, clearly define what you aim to achieve. This clarity helps participants focus their ideas towards a common goal.
  • Choose the Right Environment: Create a comfortable and distraction-free environment to encourage creativity. The setting plays a crucial role in how freely participants can think and write.
  • Time Management: Keep track of time to ensure the session remains productive and doesn’t overrun. Time constraints can also spur creativity, making people think more efficiently.
  • Encourage Openness: Foster an atmosphere where all ideas are welcomed and valued. This encourages participants to share more freely without fear of judgment.
  • Use Facilitators: Have a facilitator who can guide the session, help clarify doubts, and keep the energy levels high.
  • Post-Session Actions: Define clear next steps following the session. Whether it’s a follow-up meeting to discuss the ideas in depth or assigning responsibilities for researching certain ideas, make sure the momentum continues.

The Benefits of Brainwriting

The true beauty of brainwriting lies in its ability to democratize the creative process. It’s not just about generating ideas; it’s about creating a collaborative environment where every participant feels safe to share their thoughts. This method promotes intellectual diversity and paves the way for groundbreaking innovations. Consider Google’s ‘20% time’ policy—an embodiment of brainwriting principles. Allowing employees to dedicate 20% of their work time to passion projects led to breakthroughs like Gmail and Google News, proving that a structured, free-thinking environment can drive phenomenal success.

Common Misconceptions and Challenges of Brainwriting

Despite its many advantages, brainwriting is often misunderstood. It’s not a magical solution that instantly churns out innovations. Nor is it suited for every situation. It requires careful implementation and a commitment from all participants to truly work. Some teams may struggle with misunderstanding the problem statement or may feel hesitant to share their initial ideas. Overcoming these challenges requires clear communication and a supportive culture that encourages risk-taking and values every contribution.


What is brainwriting, then? It’s a potent tool for collaboration, ensuring that every voice is heard and valued in the brainstorming process. Whether you’re at a fledgling startup or a sprawling multinational, brainwriting can unlock creative potential and inspire a multitude of unique solutions. So, why not introduce a session in your next team meeting? The next big idea could be just one brainwriting session away!

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What is brainwriting: A quick guide to boost creative collaboration
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