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70 Brainstorming Questions to Get Your Best Ideas Out

Updated on: 12 September 2023 | 8 min read
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Brainstorming, is a tried-and-true method for sparking fresh ideas and solving problems. It’s where honest conversations thrive, and innovative solutions are born.

One essential to productive brainstorming is asking the right questions. Well-crafted questions can ignite engaging discussions and drive creativity.

In this article, we explore brainstorming questions, what they are, and how to use them effectively. Plus, we offer a selection of questions you can use in your next brainstorming meeting

What are Brainstorming Questions

Brainstorming questions are prompts used during brainstorming sessions to generate ideas, solutions, or insights on a specific topic or problem. These questions are designed to encourage creative thinking, foster collaboration, and spark innovation. Brainstorming questions often have open-ended or exploratory formats to inspire a wide range of responses.

Why Brainstorming Questions are Important

  • Spark creativity: Brainstorming questions stimulate creativity and encourage participants to think beyond conventional boundaries. They get individuals to generate a wide range of ideas and potential solutions.

  • Solve problems: They guide teams in exploring different angles and perspectives, which can lead to innovative problem-solving approaches.

  • Accept diversity: Questions can prompt participants to consider various viewpoints which can lead to well-rounded and inclusive solutions.

  • Engage participants: Engaging questions keep participants involved by creating a dynamic and interactive environment that fosters collaboration.

  • Maintain focus: They provide structure to discussions, making sure that the brainstorming process remains relevant to the topic at hand.

  • Team building: Brainstorming questions promote open communication and trust among team members. When individuals feel heard and valued, it strengthens team cohesion.

  • Inspire innovation: Encourage participants to challenge the status quo and explore unconventional solutions.

How to Ask Better Brainstorming Questions

Creating better brainstorming questions is an iterative process that involves understanding your goals, adapting to your audience, and refining your questioning techniques over time. To generate better brainstorming questions;

  • Start with a clear goal: Define the purpose of the brainstorming session and what you hope to achieve. This clarity will help you come up with relevant questions easily.

  • Avoid closed-ended questions: Instead of questions with yes/no answers, use open-ended questions that invite discussion and exploration.

  • Focus on “What If” and “How Might”: Use questions that begin with phrases like “What if…” or How might we…. These encourage imaginative thinking and idea generation.

  • Understand your audience: Consider the participants' backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives. Tailor your questions to their knowledge and interests.

  • Focus on a single topic: Keep your questions focused on one aspect or challenge to maintain clarity and prevent confusion

  • Ask one question at a time: Keep questions concise and specific. Asking multiple questions simultaneously can lead to confusion.

Brainstorming Question Types

Brainstorming questions can be categorized into different types based on their purpose and function. Here are some common types of brainstorming questions along with examples:

Questions for Creative Idea Generation

These questions encourage thinking outside the box and explore unconventional approaches.

  1. What are some unconventional ways to approach this problem?
  2. How can we infuse humor into this project?
  3. How might we reimagine our product to appeal to a completely different audience?
  4. Can we merge two unrelated concepts to create something new?
  5. How can we infuse art and aesthetics into our product/service?
  6. If money and resources were no issue, what wild ideas could we explore?
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Questions for Gathering Information

They facilitate the collection of facts, data, and knowledge about a particular topic to make informed decisions or develop comprehensive solutions.

  1. What sources can we use to research this topic effectively?
  2. What data or research do we need to gather before making a decision?
  3. Who are the experts or stakeholders we should consult for insights?
  4. What are the key facts and figures we need to fully understand the situation?
  5. How have others (competitors) approached similar problems in the past?
  6. What are the current industry trends and market dynamics we should be aware of?
  7. How can we effectively collect and organize relevant information?
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Exploratory Questions

Used to delve deeper into a subject, uncover hidden insights, and understand the broader context.

  1. What are the potential consequences of our actions in the long term?
  2. How does this idea fit within the broader industry landscape?
  3. What are the underlying causes of this issue?
  4. Can we identify any hidden opportunities or risks?
  5. What if we look at this problem from a different angle?
  6. What are the key unknowns in this scenario?
  7. How can we look at this situation from a historical context?
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Observational Questions

They are especially useful for monitoring current conditions and identifying emerging developments.

  1. What do we notice happening in the market right now?
  2. How are our customers reacting to our current products?
  3. What patterns or trends can we observe in our data?
  4. What can we learn from the successes and failures of others in our field?
  5. How are changes in consumer behavior affecting our business?
  6. What feedback have we received from recent surveys or reviews?

Introspective Questions

They invite individuals to explore their own feelings, motivations, and values, which can be important in decision-making and team dynamics.

  1. What are our individual strengths and weaknesses?
  2. What motivates us to solve this particular problem?
  3. How can we align our personal goals with our collective mission?
  4. What beliefs or assumptions do we hold that might be influencing our perspective?
  5. How can our individual values contribute to the team’s success?
  6. What fears or reservations do we have about this project?

Retrospective Questions

They help in understanding past performance, identifying areas for improvement, and celebrating achievements.

  1. What worked well in our previous project, and why?
  2. What could have been done differently to achieve better results?
  3. How did we handle challenges and setbacks in the past?
  4. What feedback did we receive from stakeholders in previous projects?
  5. What were the key milestones and turning points?
  6. What have we accomplished since we started this journey?
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Find a comprehensive list of retrospective questions here.

Refining Questions

Help with the optimization and improvement of existing processes, ideas, or strategies. They support the fine-tuning of plans and approaches for better results.

  1. How can we streamline our processes to improve efficiency?
  2. What elements of our project can be simplified or eliminated?
  3. Are there any redundant or unnecessary steps in our workflow?
  4. How can we improve the user experience of our product or service?
  5. What aspects of our project need further polish and refinement?
  6. What feedback have we received that can help us fine-tune our approach?

Prioritization Questions

Help determine which tasks, goals, or projects should take precedence. They help allocate resources wisely and align efforts with overarching objectives.

  1. What are the most critical tasks that need immediate attention?
  2. How can we allocate our limited resources most effectively?
  3. What factors should we consider when ranking our priorities?
  4. What are the potential consequences of deprioritizing certain tasks?
  5. Which ideas align best with our organization’s mission and values?
  6. What criteria should we use to determine our top priorities?
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Actionable Questions

They emphasize turning ideas into tangible actions with clear responsibilities and timelines.

  1. What specific steps can we take to implement this idea?
  2. Who will be responsible for each aspect of the project?
  3. What are the deadlines for each phase of our plan?
  4. How can we measure and track progress toward our goals?
  5. What resources do we need to execute this plan successfully?
  6. Are there any potential obstacles or roadblocks we should address in advance?

Problem-Solving Questions

Used to dissect complex issues, identify their root causes, and explore potential solutions.

  1. What is the root cause of the issue we’re facing?
  2. What are the alternative solutions available to us?
  3. How can we break down the problem into smaller, more manageable parts?
  4. What potential barriers or obstacles might we encounter?
  5. Who should be involved in the problem-solving process?
  6. What strategies have been successful for similar problems in the past?
  7. How can we test and validate potential solutions before full implementation?

Decision-Making Questions

Help define criteria, evaluate options, and consider ethical and long-term implications to make informed decisions.

  1. What are the key criteria we should consider when making this decision?
  2. Who are the stakeholders and what are their interests?
  3. What are the pros and cons of each available option?
  4. What information or data do we need to make an informed decision?
  5. What is our contingency plan in case the decision doesn’t bring the expected results?
  6. What ethical considerations should guide our decision-making process?
  7. How can we make sure that the decision is effectively communicated and executed?

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Amanda Athuraliya
Amanda Athuraliya Communications Specialist

Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

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