Last Updated on 14 November 2019

One of the reasons we find brainstorming intimidating is that some people are better than others in squeezing ideas out of their heads.

These people – while amazing because they seem to have magical powers and some conduit to divine inspiration – make the rest of us feel stupid and doubt our creative ability.

Why can’t I pop out ideas like that? I guess I’m just not creative?

This is what old school brainstorming was about. People sitting in a room squeezing out ideas. Sponge style.

When I hear people say brainstorming is broken or doesn’t work… I know they’re referring to sponge style brainstorming.

New school brainstorming is about working smarter, not harder. Spending less time creating alternatives and more time filtering. Using our brainpower as a sieve to filter and narrow ideas to the fewer, bigger, and better.

For example, say we’re trying to create a new name for your energy drink.

Old school sponge style would have us sitting, staring at a pad of paper… hoping great ideas would pop into our heads.

Why waste brain power when we are surrounded by digital inspiration? At our fingertips and eyeballs are millions of images and words that stimulate thought.

Type “energy” or “power” into any favorite image search engine and you’ll instantly have hundreds of idea starters. Type “energy” or “power” into an online thesaurus, and you’ll be presented with loads of word options.

Save your brain to do the things computers aren’t good at. To filter. To select the gold nuggets from the gravel.

If you have access a good sponge, invite them to your brainstorm session… But, for the rest of us, give us some stimulating content and put us to work as filters and sieves.