Brainstorming Technique: Random Words

Brainstorming Technique Using Random Words

Brainstorming Technique Using Random Words

I want to share with you a very simple yet powerful technique for improving your brainstorming sessions.


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Hey there, it’s James Taylor here, keynote speaker on creativity and innovation and the founder of SuperCreativityU today, I want to share with you a very simple yet powerful technique for improving your brainstorming sessions.

Brainstorming Technique: Random Words

Hey there, James Taylor here to speak on creativity, innovation, and the founder of SuperCreativityU. Now, something I’m often brought in to help organizations with is improving their brainstorming or their ideation sessions, whether that’s in person, or whether that’s virtual. And as well as different techniques you can use if you’re trying to do brainstorming ideation sessions, I want to share one with you just now it’s very simple. It’s existed for a long, long time. But it’s so equally powerful. And it’s actually something you can really use very well in a virtual environment if you’re not actually in the same physical space. 

Random Words

And I first kind of got this idea of this technique from an exhibition I visited by the German Nobel Prize-winning German poet Herta Muller to do something very interesting. As she was working on her poetry, she was maybe creating some poems you were devising thinking about this, in order to just kind of push yourself out of her comfort zone and maybe come at the sentence or the line from a different perspective, she would have this collection of bits of people with random words, they might be a noun, they might be a verb. And then what she would do is she would use that word as a jumping-off point to think about, okay, well, how does that word reflect on this, what I’m trying to say here, and sometimes it didn’t reflect at all, but what it did is it just moved her out of maybe a sliver stuck place on a sentence, to moving into a different place. 

Another very famous user of this idea of random words, and as a brainstorming technique was David Bowie. Now, in David Bowie’s case, initially, what he would do is you would get newspapers, and he would cut out words from the newspapers. And they actually just put them in a drawer in a bag. And as he was working on a lyric for us a new song, what he would do is he would occasionally just reach into that bag, pick out a word, and his random word to look at it and think, Okay, what does that mean? How does that relate to this song? How can I use this word? How can this inspire me maybe to take a different direction with this sentence, or this line I’m writing just now. Now, as time went on, he was able to make it a little bit kind of fancy, you actually got a computer, which generated random words, to allow him to do that. And I think this is actually very useful. If you’re in the world of marketing, especially, 

I see that you use a lot in marketing or innovation labs. So this is what I would encourage you to do. If you’re working on an idea for a campaign, you’re thinking about the problem, the challenge you’re trying to solve, the campaign you want to design, maybe design is often very useful just to go and grab a random word. And there’s a couple of ways that you can do this. So what I’m going to suggest you do are websites and random word generators, if you just Google random word generators, that’s one way of doing it. And it will just generate random words, and you can just use those. And the point is, they are random, you’ve not thought about these words you’ve not, but they’re just kind of random coming to you. Other ways you can do it, you can pick up bits of paper, you can, you know, have a whole bunch of different words on or post notes and use those. 

So for example, what will sometimes happen is I was doing an event the other day. And we use this one brainstorming technique, this random words technique. And they were in this case, it was a bank, and it was stuck on a particular challenge, you’re unsure really where to go with this particular product that they’re working on. So we use a random word, I think the word was river River. Okay, river. So what if we made this product like a river? What do we think of what the component parts of river water are flowing, there’s no, there are no impediments. It flows as water goes around, goes up, goes under. And from there, I wouldn’t see what their client was and what the end result was from that. But they use that word as a jumping-off point. And it allowed them to create a little innovation in this particular product they were wanting to offer, and just slightly reposition how they were doing and how they were trying to tell the story about this product to their target market. So that’s just one little example. And I can give you lots more. I’ve used this kind of random word with your financial services with technology companies, with big pharma companies, fast-moving consumer product companies, where I tend to find works best, especially in the marketing function. Or if you have a new product that you’re working on, or you have a new challenge, want to take a different approach to it. Using this random word concept is very useful for that. 

Increases Flexibility Of The Mind

So this is what I’d like you to do. Think about maybe a challenge that you’ve got just now, maybe you got a new product or a new service. You think you are thinking about launching, and I want you to go online, search for a random word generator, pull up a random word. And over the course of the next few days, I want you to think about how that word can apply to whatever is challenge that you’re trying to solve. Now, I’m going to get you some maybe some pretty mad ideas from that. And at first, it might be a little bit of a struggle, because you’re gonna have to use a little bit more imagination in your thinking. But what it will allow you to do is it will allow you to move from being a fixed state moving stuck on a problem, just to create some movement, maybe that word is never the thing you end up using in that particular product or that campaign. And it’s the ideas that come from that word and not the ones you end up using. But what is important is that it increases that flexibility of mind and gets you to open up your mind to new possibilities. So that’s the random words technique for brainstorming sessions and ideation sessions. And if you’d like me, maybe I can come in and work with some of your team. We could do a great virtual workshop and we can teach you some of these different techniques, then, head over to my website, It would be great if you want to ensure that you subscribe to this channel because you get lots of new little tips like this every week. My name is James Taylor. Thanks for watching.

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