Definitions of brainstorming creative thinking, and lateral thinking

You will note that many words have more than one definition. This is intentional because words are used in different ways by different people and a single definition is often neither helpful nor sufficient. Only by reading all the definitions will you truly understand the complexities of the words and what they represent.

Wallace Stevens wrote a poem called “Thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird” in which he wrote thirteen verses, all describing a blackbird from different angles. There is no single definition which fits exactly. Likewise, we have described the key words from different angles to give you a better indication of what they really mean.


Brainstorming is “a conference technique by which a group attempts to find a solution for a specific problem by amassing all the ideas spontaneously by its members” (Alex Osborn)

Brainstorming is a process designed to obtain the maximum number of ideas relating to a specific area of interest.

Brainstorming is a technique that maximizes the ability to generate new ideas.

Brainstorming is where a group of people put social inhibitions and rules aside with the aim of generating new ideas and solutions.

Brainstorming is a time dedicated to generating a large number of ideas regardless of their initial worth.

Brainstorming is a part of problem solving which involves the creation of new ideas by suspending judgment.

Brainstorming is the creation of an optimal state of mind for generating new ideas.

Brainstorming is the free association of different ideas to form new ideas and concepts.

brainstorming training

Dictionary definitions of ‘Brainstorm’

  • A sudden inspiration
  • A bright idea
  • A severe outburst of excitement, often as a result of a transitory disturbance of cerebral activity
  • A sudden mental aberration


  1. The central organ of the nervous system, located in the head, responsible for thought, memory, emotion, and controlling bodily functions.
  2. The complex organ within the skull that functions as the primary coordinator and interpreter of sensory and intellectual input.


  1. A violent disturbance in the atmosphere involving elements like wind, rain, snow, or thunder.
  2. An intense meteorological event characterized by extreme weather conditions.

Thesaurus Alternatives to ‘Brainstorm’

  1. Frenzy, rapture, elation, inspiration, delirium, fervor, euphoria, agitation, fervency, excitement.
  2. Spontaneous outpourings, fervid display, energetic burst, emotional eruption.


  1. To bring something into existence; to give rise to new ideas or objects.
  2. The act of inventing or producing something original or novel.
  3. The process of formulating, initiating, or constructing something unique.


  1. Possessing the ability or power to create; characterized by originality and expressiveness.
  2. Innovatively productive, contributing to the formation of new ideas or concepts.


  1. The capability or act of conceiving something original or unusual.
  2. The process of developing new, imaginative ideas or things.


  1. The intellectual process of considering or reasoning about something.
  2. The mental endeavor involved in forming judgments, making decisions, or recalling memories.
brainstorming idea generation


  1. A mental impression or concept.
  2. A formulated thought or opinion, the product of mental activity.

Creative Thinking

  1. Thinking that enables the generation of innovative, diverse, and elaborate ideas.
  2. Mental processes that foster the development of original and productive ideas.

Lateral Thinking

  1. A problem-solving method involving creative, indirect, and non-sequential reasoning.
  2. Techniques for changing perception and concepts to generate novel ideas, as defined by Edward de Bono.


  1. A typical example or pattern of something; a model.
  2. A set way of looking at or understanding something, a mindset or viewpoint.


  1. A situation, question, or matter requiring resolution or consideration.
  2. A difficulty or challenge that needs to be addressed or overcome.


  1. A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.
  2. A chance for advancement or progress.


  1. A term combining ‘problem’ and ‘opportunity,’ representing a situation that can be viewed as a challenge or a chance for improvement.

Problem Solving

  1. The process of identifying a problem and developing an approach to resolving it.
  2. Analyzing situations and devising strategies to address challenges or issues.
mind map and brainstorming


  1. A visual representation of ideas or information, used to aid brainstorming and analysis.
  2. A graphical way to represent ideas and concepts, facilitating the organization and generation of new ideas.


  1. A group discussion focused on determining the causes of a failure and attributing responsibility.
  2. A critical process, contrary to brainstorming, where the emphasis is on judgment and criticism of ideas and actions.

Words relating to creative, creative thinking, lateral thinking and brainstorming:

creativeness, formation, innovate, innovation, invent, inventiveness, original, craftsmanship, author, creator, ferment, outburst, outbreak, beget, existence, concoct, devise, hatch, give birth, generate, spawn, initiate, establish, install, lead to, dream up, formulate, give life to, genesis, foundation, setting up, inception, artistic, fertile, ingenious, inspired, stimulation, visionary, cleverness, talent, architect, designer, father, mother, initiator, inventor, maker, originator, sideways, sidestep, consider, reckon, regard, suppose, surmise, propose, determine, cogitate, chew over, deliberate, muse, ponder, ruminate, reflect, weigh up, foresee, expect, conceivable, assessment, conclusions, contemplate, intelligent, philosophy, conjecture, visualize, theory, opinion, feasible, abstraction, impression, understanding, conviction, doctrine, interpretation, teaching, concept, hypothesis, suggestion, notion, discovery, principle, fantasy, brainchild, brainwave, explore, find, locate, hit upon, revelation, detection, expose, show up, elicit, sense, locate.

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