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OpenSTORMS: The Lowdown

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Here at OpenIDEO, we like to think people design better, together. Through our Inspiration, Ideas & Refinement phases, it gets our hearts beating faster to see folks collaborating globally in the pursuit of social good. We're also excited about groups getting together offline to brainstorm then sharing the goodness with our online community. Running a live brainstorm with your friends and colleagues is a fun way to get some ideas down quickly and easily. Brainstorming + OpenIDEO = OpenSTORM! Keen to give it a go? Here's some pointers:
1. Gather your group and materials
Send out an email – organise a brunch, a classroom gathering, an afterwork get-together, a commuting collaboration, a fire-side forum. Anything that suits the group you're bringing together. 3-7 is a good group size. Materials to have handy include blank paper, post-its and sharpies. If you're working on ideas – grab a Brainstorm in a Box toolkit from our current challenge page in the Learn More section. Here's an example from our Local Food Challenge – and you can check our Featured Challenge and go to the Ideas phase to find the current toolkit.  M&Ms and sweets are good for a pick-me-up during brainstorm sessions too!
2. Pick your brainstorm topics
Choose topics in the form of a 'How might we...' question. These open up discussion and productive thinking. Like, 'How might we better inform consumers about the journey their food takes?'
3. Start with a warmup exercise
To get your creative brainstorming energy flowing, you might try a quick warmup exercise related to your brainstorm topics. eg. 'Name 10 ways to document a journey.' This helps loosen things up before you start thinking of creative connections and novel solutions.
4. Ready, set, brainstorm!
Brainstorm for 15-30 minutes on each topic.
Check out our tips on brainstorming which encourage you to:
Defer Judgement
Encourage Wild Ideas
Build on the Ideas of Others
Stay Focused
One Conversation at a Time
Be Visual
Go for Quantity
5. Upload your concepts and comments to OpenIDEO
This is potentially the most challenging but important part of your mission: uploading the ideas to OpenIDEO afterward! It's great if you can get everyone at the brainstorm to sign up to OpenIDEO – but be sure to nominate someone to upload your ideas while you are together. They can give a hat-tip to your OpenSTORM collaborators in the Virtual Team Field (listed in the concept submission form). They should also feel free to add a line at the bottom of the post to let others know that the idea was generated collaboratively at an OpenSTORM. And don't forget to come back and join conversations with our global community as they engage with your fresh thinking.
If you've used the Brainstorm in a Box toolkit you can take photos of the Concepting form & upload those too. Again – add a line and link at the bottom of your post to let everyone know you used the Brainstorm in a Box toolkit and help spread the word. If you're keen to share any highlights or learnings from your OpenSTORM, come share them on our OpenIDEO Stories forum or OpenIDEO + Universities forum if you're a student group.
OpenSTORMS are a great way to bring people together to collaborate for social good and unleash a whirlwind of ideas!
OpenSTORM in Tokyo – organised by Anne Kjær Riechert
OpenSTORM in San Francisco – organised by Anjelika Deogirikar


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