Brainstorming For Brilliant Ideas I Oxford Open Learning


    Brainstorming For Brilliant Ideas

    Alex Osborn, the father of the brainstorming method, believed that group brainstorming could lead to a 50% increase in creativity. Osborn published several books throughout his lifetime, and one of his most well-known is How To Think Up (1942), which explores the topic of creative thinking. Since then, many students have also found brainstorming to be  helpful with creative projects, including assignments, enhancing study skills and writing exercises.

    When you brainstorm on your own or as part of a group, there is often a temptation to give up too soon. Many of us lack the structure to guide our problem solving. The brainstorming tool, 5W’s & H, however, has helped thousands of people to spark creative ideas. I have cherry-picked some of its examples of questions you might ask yourself. However, do feel free to tweak these as you wish.

    • Who – Who is involved? Who is affected? Who need not be affected? Who can help you?

    • What –What would be a better way of looking at the situation? What are the main challenges you are facing?

    • When – When does this take place? By when should it have happened?

    • Where – Where does it take place? Where should it take place?

    • Why – Why are you experiencing challenges? Why do you need to come up with a solution?

    • HowHow can you solve this in the shortest amount of time? How can you resolve this with the least amount of effort? How should you solve the challenges?

    • Bonus: What if – What if there was a perfect solution in this situation? What if you knew that you could not fail? What if you came up with 10 brilliant ways of handling the situation? What if you spent twice as much time finding a solution?


    Creative ideas can be like unpolished stones. Some of them could turn out to be precious gems if you polish them. Let your creative ideas flow and do not judge them immediately. Welcome them with an open mind.

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    Henrietta Nagy is a seasoned portfolio worker with over 10 years’ experience in the UK education sector. Henrietta writes educational content, designs academic courses, delivers university lecturers, mentors entrepreneurs, and provides career development coaching. With 9 years of higher education studies internationally (including an MBA), she has worked with CEOs, academics, scholars, managers, women entrepreneurs, academic administrators, and other consultants.