Designing a Brainstorm Boosting Tool, Part 2

Designing a Brainstorm Boosting Tool, Part 2

I’m collaborating on a brainstorm sheet with James Allen of Creative Huddle, combining his expertise in teaching creativity with my nutty love for information-dense productivity forms.

First Iteration

Back in August, I posted the first draft of the sheet, which looked like this:

Creative One Sheet Draft 1

Feedback on DR01

In our followup Skype session, James likened the swooshy graphics as a way to select a brainstorming strategy as one moved from idea to idea. You could start anywhere, and then depending on the direction you went, you could get a different set of creative prompts like a choose your own adventure.

Creative One Sheet Draft 02aJames sent me a sketch of the idea, and introduced the notion of “twist” and “stop” nodes. I thought of “spinners” in pinball games and multiplexing circuit switches.

For our next step, I took the first sheet and did a prototype layout. The goals: create a deliberate connection between the brainstorming prompts (“nodes”) while allowing for a variety of choices. I had a six-sided die in mind, so I made sure the number of choices per node was 2, 3 or 6; these can be easily calculated from a six-sided die.

Second Iteration

Creative One Sheet Draft 2b As I worked on this, I became aware that the layout of the various questions had to be distributed in a way so “good” combinations were possible, and that all the brainstorm prompts (in my mind I thought of them as “idea boosters”) were reachable. It also quickly became apparent that laying out the brainstorming boosters was a challenge akin to designing a small integrated circuit, so I chose not to spend a lot of time on this until we had a refined set of brain boosters and spinner operations. James was happy to take another pass at the booster list, providing a shorter list that he’s confident will serve the majority of cases we’re thinking of.

So that’s where we are now. With the refined list of boosters in hand, my task is to make a third pass at the layout and be more specific about the selection/play mechanism. We have a disagreement in how to handle the write-in areas of the form. James would like to see them inside the diagram, while I’m not a fan of them and prefer to have them in one place off-to-the-side…I haven’t realy spent time on it either, as I’m more pre-occupied with the design of the main area, which I will now call “the booster board”. There’s quite a bit of work to do to resolve the layout, but hey…we’re pushing forward!

UPDATE: Here’s James’ post on the booster ideas, all listed and categorized.


  1. Brennen Reece 12 years ago

    Six-sided die, eh. That’s a gamer tell if I ever saw one.

  2. Beth 12 years ago

    Hi, I love this idea and can’t wait to see the next iteration. I am already thinking about the idea boosters, spinners and warps. This would be so useful for personal and group use!

    Warmly, Beth

  3. Amit Patel 12 years ago

    Interesting. The first iteration draws attention to the text instead of the connections; the second iteration draws attention to the connections and labels instead of the text.

  4. Author
    Dave Seah 12 years ago

    Brennen: It took an effort to not call it a D6 :)

    Beth: Thanks for the comment! Glad to hear that you find the idea interesting!

    Amit: Fascinating, isn’t it? Getting the balance right is going to be a big PITA :)