Youth Engagement Toolkit

Benefits of Youth Leadership

Brainstorming with Youth

Brainstorming can be used to develop a list of...well anything! Most often it is used to explore options for:

  • Topics to address
  • Activities
  • Problem solving
  • Creating "Top 10" lists (recommendations, issues, etc.)
  • Areas of Focus

Basic Ground Rules for Brainstorming

  1. Criticism is ruled out. To create an atmosphere necessary for uninhibited imaginations, you cannot criticize another's thoughts, opinions, or ideas...even you own
  2. Freewheeling is welcomed. The wilder the idea, the better! Seemingly preposterous ideas can lead to imaginative, yet workable solutions.
  3. Quantity is wanted. The purpose of this activity is to produce a long list of ideas which will, in turn, increase the likelihood of finding good problem solutions.
  4. Combination and improvement are sought after. This lengthens the idea list. Actually, during the session, you will "piggyback" on each others' ideas, with one idea inspiring the next.
  5. Do not judge, there are no wrong or right answers

There are many ways to go about the brainstorming process. You can use notepads and pencils, flip chart paper and markers, sticky notes, note cards, or envelopes. However you go about it, don't forget to use the Five Steps for Brainstorming to make sure you end up with all of the ideas possible!

Sometimes your team might get stuck when they are brainstorming.

If you get to an absolute dead end and still haven't found the idea you are looking for, try using Reverse Brainstorming.

Reverse Brainstorming

Reverse Brainstorming allows for new viewpoints to be found by turning a problem around. It quickly points out what currently is being done incorrectly and indirectly suggests solutions.

For example: Water Waste. Instead of focusing on how to stop wasting water, think of:

  • all the ways that you CAN waste water to find solutions for stopping.
  • Ways to Waste Water Indoors and Ways to Waste Water Outdoors

Prevent Secondhand Smoke Exposure - This is a topic that most people get stuck on after "pass laws", "don't go to places that allow it" and "tell people it's bad for them".

Instead of thinking about how you can stop secondhand smoke, list:

  • places you can be exposed to secondhand smoke
  • reasons you don't like being exposed
  • things that it does to your body, etc.