Brainwriting In A Bucket

You can download a PDF version of this tool here: Brainwriting In A Bucket

Brainwriting In A Bucket

Divergent Tool for Problem Finding/Idea Finding/Ideation/Brainstorming
Works Best In Small Groups (Breakout Groups)

Even the most fruitful ideation sessions can hit a stall.  When this happens, a new brainstorming technique is needed to stimulate thinking and keep the ideas flowing.  This technique is a variation of the Brainwriting technique, and is to be used when ideas are beginning to slow in an ideation/brainstorming session.

Items Needed

  • 2 Buckets per group
  • Post It Notes
  • Pens/Markers
  • Flip chart


  1. Break larger ground into groups of 4-10.
  2. Write the group’s task or problem at the top of the flip chart.
  3. Quietly begin brainstorming ideas for the group’s task or problem.  Each member of the group should write their ideas down on a Post-It Note.
  4. Once an idea is written down, it should be tossed into the first bucket.
  5. Each person should write down as many ideas as they can onto Post-It notes and toss them into the first bucket.  A good goal is about 10 ideas per person.  It’s okay to come up with less.
  6. Once the first round of ideas is complete or begins to slow down, switch to the second round.
  7. Each person should reach into the first bucket full of Post-It Notes and pull one out randomly.
  8. The person reads the idea and builds off of it.  A build could be an addition to the existing idea, an option for the existing idea, or a whole new idea that’s sparked from the first idea.  Write this below the original idea on the Post-It Note.
  9. The person then tosses the idea into the second bucket.
  10. Repeat steps 6-8 until there are no ideas left in the first bucket.
  11. Each Post-It Note should now have 2 ideas on it.
  12. As time permits, repeat steps 6-8 for the ideas in the second bucket. After this, each Post-It Note should have 3 ideas on it.
  13. Take the Post-It Notes from the buckets and place them on the flip chart in front of the group.
  14. Have one person read each Post-It Note out loud.
  15. Take any final builds people may have and write them on the Post-It Notes.

Optional Convergence Tool (feel free to use the tool you feel is the most effective)

  1. As a group, cluster similar ideas together.
  2. Vote for the ideas group members want to move forward with.  Each person should get enough votes to vote for 10% of the ideas, e.g. 50 ideas means each person gets 5 votes.
    • Each Post-It Note should be considered an idea.  An idea from within each Post-It Note can be voted on individually if the group agrees to separate that idea from the Post-It Note.  If this happens, write the idea on a separate Post-It Note.
  3. After voting is completed, discuss each idea that received at least 1 vote.
  4. As a group, select 3-5 ideas to move forward with based on the discussion.