Brainwriting

What is brainwriting, which variants exist and what is the big advantage?

The quiet creativity technique

Brainwriting is a creativity technique for finding ideas or solving problems. In contrast to the conventional creativity technique, brainstorming, brainwriting is completely silent. Each participant writes his or her ideas on a defined topic – ideally in a predetermined time – on a sheet of paper and makes this paper available to another participant in a subsequent round. In this and the following rounds, each participant has the opportunity to describe their own ideas or to develop ideas from other participants.

Brainwriting Variants

The distribution of ideas varies according to the variant used:

  • The 6-3-5 method is probably the best known brainwriting variant. It defines a fixed process with 6 participants, 3 ideas per participant and 5 rounds.
  • In the brainwriting pool, the papers with the ideas are pushed into the middle of the table and each participant takes a sheet from this pool, supplements it with new ideas or develops existing ones further.
  • With the Collective Notebook, participants note down ideas and thoughts for a few days or weeks in a notebook that is exchanged at an agreed date.

The big advantage

Brainwriting – similar to braindumping in a team – promotes especially creative solutions through non-verbal brainstorming, because there is no need to worry about immediate, negative feedback. Brainwriting also encourages introverted employees, who often find themselves at a disadvantage in brainstorming compared to extroverted employees. If a participant does not come up with another idea with the 6-3-5 method or the brainwriting pool, he or she keeps silence and leaves the other participants the opportunity to develop further ideas in peace and time.

Brainwriting example

Depending on the approach, a joint discussion on the ideas collected or a preparation of the results for a subsequent meeting follows after the ideas have been collected.

Notes:

A blog post comparing brainstorming, brainwriting and braindumping can be found here  »
A blog post about Liberating Structures can be found here  »

Interested in more insights?

Find more explanations and details