Warm-up Exercises for brainstorming sessions – free list to choose from

Here’s some suggested warm up exercises to do before running the main brainstorming session on your focused topic. Get creative on something that doesn’t matter first before tackling the main objective.

Warm-up Exercises for brainstorming sessions
  1. Word Association Game
    • Group Size: Any
    • Specifics:
      • Form a circle or arrange participants in a way everyone can hear each other.
      • The facilitator starts by saying a word related to the brainstorming topic.
      • Moving clockwise or around the virtual room, each participant quickly says the first word that comes to their mind in response.
      • Continue for several rounds or set a timer for about 3-5 minutes.
      • The goal is to encourage free-flowing thought without overthinking.
  2. Two Truths and a Lie
    • Group Size: Small to Medium
    • Specifics:
      • Participants sit in a circle.
      • Each participant thinks of two true statements and one false statement about themselves. These should be creative and not immediately obvious.
      • One by one, each participant shares their three statements in a random order.
      • The rest of the group votes on which statement they believe is the lie.
      • This game helps to relax the atmosphere and gets people talking.
  3. Idea Sketching
    • Group Size: Any
    • Specifics:
      • Provide each participant with paper and pens/pencils.
      • Pose a simple problem or question related to the brainstorming session.
      • Set a timer for 5 minutes and ask them to sketch any ideas or solutions that come to mind, without worrying about artistic skill.
      • After the time is up, participants can briefly share their sketches and the ideas behind them.
  4. The Alphabet Game
    • Group Size: Large
    • Specifics:
      • Divide participants into small groups (4-5 people).
      • Provide each group with a flip chart or a large piece of paper.
      • Assign a letter of the alphabet to each group or have them work through the alphabet in order.
      • Groups write down words or phrases related to the brainstorming topic for each letter.
      • Set a time limit (e.g., 2 minutes per letter) to keep the pace brisk.
  5. Story Circle
    • Group Size: Small to Medium
    • Specifics:
      • Arrange participants in a circle.
      • The facilitator starts a story with a sentence that is related to the brainstorming topic.
      • Moving around the circle, each person adds a sentence to the story.
      • Encourage creativity and ensure each contribution builds on the previous one.
      • Continue until everyone has had a turn or the story reaches a natural end.
  6. Mind Mapping
    • Group Size: Small
    • Specifics:
      • Provide a large sheet of paper or whiteboard and markers.
      • Write a central idea or problem in the middle.
      • Participants draw branches from the central idea, adding related concepts, thoughts, or solutions.
      • Encourage them to use different colors or symbols to represent different themes or relationships.
      • This visual representation helps to organize thoughts and see connections.
  7. Object Transformation
    • Group Size: Any
    • Specifics:
      • Distribute an everyday object to each participant (e.g., a paper clip, pen, or cup).
      • Set a timer for about 5 minutes.
      • Ask participants to write down or discuss as many unconventional uses for the object as possible.
      • This exercise encourages thinking beyond traditional uses and fosters creativity.
  8. Silent Idea Generation
    • Group Size: Large
    • Specifics:
      • Provide each participant with a piece of paper and a pen.
      • Ask them to write down one idea related to the brainstorming topic.
      • After a minute, have them pass their paper to the person on their left/right.
      • Each participant then builds upon or adds to the idea they received.
      • Continue passing the papers around for a set number of rounds.
  9. Rapid Fire Questions
    • Group Size: Any
    • Specifics:
      • The facilitator prepares a list of random, open-ended questions (not necessarily related to the topic).
      • Participants stand or sit in a circle.
      • The facilitator rapidly fires questions to random participants.
      • Participants must answer immediately with the first thing that comes to mind.
      • This exercise is fast-paced and should create an energetic atmosphere.
  10. Role Play
    • Group Size: Medium to Large
    • Specifics:
      • Assign different roles or personas to participants. These could be based on customer types, company roles, or any relevant persona to the brainstorming topic.
      • Divide participants into small groups, ensuring a mix of roles in each group.
      • Pose a situation or problem related to the brainstorming topic
Warm-up Exercises for brainstorming - free training

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