Resources > 10 Ideas in 10 Minutes: Rapid Brainstorming Ideas for the Whole Team

10 Ideas in 10 Minutes: Rapid Brainstorming Ideas for the Whole Team

Updated on: 12 September 2023 | 6 min read
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Collaborative brainstorming sessions are the secret sauce that can fuel a team’s innovation, and creativity. Many times it’s just the thing you need to keep your team feeling active and engaged. However, finding ways to keep a session structured and useful can be a real challenge. It’s easy to get lost in the brainstorming wilderness, where ideas stay on sticky notes and never see the light of day.

Sometimes the key to generating better ideas is to make your sessions shorter. A simple shift in the approach keeps everyone on their toes, prevents brainstorming burnout, and ensures you’re always on the cutting edge of fresh ideas. In this blog post, we’ll explore a rapid method to brainstorming ideas that can generate a wealth of ideas in just 10 minutes. We’ll also introduce you to the “How Might We” technique and show you how to use a visual whiteboard like Creately to supercharge your collaborative brainstorming sessions.

The Need for Speed: Why Rapid Brainstorming Matters

Before we dive into the specifics of rapid brainstorming, let’s take a moment to understand why speed matters in the world of idea generation. Traditional brainstorming sessions can be slow and meandering, often resulting in participants feeling frustrated and drained. Here’s why rapid brainstorming ideas is a game-changer:

Efficiency: By setting a time limit and focusing on generating as many ideas as possible within that timeframe, you force your team to think quickly and creatively

Diversity of Ideas: Speed encourages participants to think outside the box and come up with unconventional ideas that they might hesitate to share in a slower-paced session

Energy and Engagement: Short, focused bursts of brainstorming ideas are more engaging and energizing for participants, helping them stay motivated and enthusiastic

Creating the right environment to allow the free-flow of ideas is key to the rapid idea generation process. For a more detailed understanding on how to create the right environment for you team check out our guide on effective brainstorming strategies.

The Power of “How Might We”

The “10 for 10” method is quick, easy and can be done anytime you need a creative jolt. All you need is a topic, and it can be applied to brainstorming solutions for virtually anything. The key is to turn your topic into a “How Might We” (HMW) phrased challenge, reframing it into something actionable. For example, instead of “We need to fix our customer drop-off rate,” you can rephrase it as “How Might We Improve retention”

Declarative words like “Our task is to create a better product” encourage people to set restricted and imposing goals. What exactly does “better” mean? Everyone has a unique perspective of what better is, but if this better is not connected with specific goals, it is unlikely to offer valuable and realistic suggestions. Instead, it forces us to find answers right away, such as changing graphics, lowering the number of words, changing colors, and so on.

However, if we convert that statement to a very simple “How Might We Create a Better Product,” as imperfect as that query remains, it primes us to brainstorm about numerous ways said better might be achieved and is likely to elicit questions about what better actually means.

How might we examples

Here are a few more HMW examples:

  • How might we improve our smartphone’s user experience?
  • How might we create ads that drive more conversions?
  • How might we make learning resources more engaging?
  • How might we reduce plastic waste in our office?
  • How might we enhance the patient experience?
  • How might we reduce traffic congestion in the city?
  • How might we encourage more community volunteering?

Step 1: Generate! (5 minutes)

Once you have a well-phrased HMW challenge, it’s time to kick off the rapid idea generation session. A great way to do this is to explore the concept of ‘Together Alone’ . This involves the process where each team member begins to ideate or reflect on an agreed-upon problem without discussion or sharing.

Set Expectations: Instruct team members to write as many ideas as possible for the HMW challenge. The goal here is quantity over quality so at this stage, each idea should be on a separate sticky note. To encourage rapid generation, it is best to do this step anonymously, so ideas come out fast and quickly without people feeling self-conscious. The goal is to come up with a minimum of 15 ideas, but 20 is preferable.

Set the Timer: Timeboxing this step is crucial- start a 5-minute timer and let everyone write ideas in silence. Encourage those who seem stuck to keep writing, even if their ideas seem fuzzy initially. Often, good ideas emerge the less you think about them.

Wrap It Up: Once the 5 minutes are up, instruct everyone to stop writing. The team quickly goes over all the inputs generated.

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Step 2: Organize (1 minute)

The next step is to identify the most promising ideas

Pick Favorites: Ask each member to select their top 10 ideas from the sticky notes. Each team member can group their selected ideas with different colored stickies

Declutter: Instruct participants to discard all non-chosen ideas, there may be a situation where more than one team member has come up with an idea. Discard the duplicates at this stage.

Step 3: Vote! (3 minutes)

Now, it’s time to determine which ideas the team collectively views as the most promising. In a traditional brainstorming process, this can lead to endless circular discussions and debates, but having time constraints helps the team choose ideas as a collective better.

Dot Voting: All the ideas are laid out on a Creately canvas. Each member has 10 ‘dots’ available to them. They use these dots to select the ideas they like best. By placing a dot next to the sticky.. Silent Voting: Ask participants to silently vote on the ideas they find most promising, keeping the HMW challenge in mind. Participants can place multiple dots on one idea, including their own, and they should use all 10 dots within 3 minutes.

Avoid Overthinking: Emphasize the importance of following their instincts and not overanalyzing. Set a 3-minute timer to prevent overthinking.

Remember, this voting process isn’t about pinpoint accuracy. It’s a way to make people engage with the ideas, identify preferences, and reduce the need for lengthy discussions.

Step 4: Arrange! (1 minute)

The final step of “10 for 10” is to visually organize the results of the voting.

Reorganize the ideas based on the number of votes they received, placing the most-voted ideas at the top and removing ideas with no votes.

Now, you have a visual representation of 10 ideas that your team believes have a strong potential to solve the HMW challenge set at the beginning of the exercise.


Consider attempting to obtain the same objectives through a typical dialogue. One member is likely to monopolize the debate for 10 minutes on a single issue, resulting in irritation and circular conversations. As conversations tend to homogenize ideas, the range of ideas generated would suffer as well.

“10 for 10” challenges teams to generate ideas rapidly, curate brutally, and disassociate themselves from individual ideas. Idea generation becomes more agile and rapid, particularly for issues that should not necessitate hours of discussion. It’s a great pre-workshop warm-up before entering into more rigorous workshops like Lightning Decision Jam or Design Sprints.

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Chiraag George
Chiraag George Communication Specialist

Chiraag George is a communication specialist here at Creately. He is a marketing junkie that is fascinated by how brands occupy consumer mind space. A lover of all things tech, he writes a lot about the intersection of technology, branding and culture at large.

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