Ana Boyer
Designer Advocate at Figma

Brainstorming

The brainstorming phase of a project is an exciting one. But underneath that blank slate feeling, the key to a successful brainstorm is structure and preparation. Here are a few steps to organize your brainstorm and ensure that your team is empowered by possibility, not overwhelmed by it.

Choose a template

First, you need to define the purpose of your brainstorm and arrive on a few goals. Being crisp about what you're looking to get out of the session will help you choose the right template, or create one of your own. To get you started, we’ll walk you through a few templates from the Figma Community: Mind Map, Crazy 8s, and Brainstorms.

Mind Map is great for visualizing concepts and organizing inspiration. In this exercise, your team groups images inspired by a specific prompt and comes up with keywords that highlight emerging themes.

The Mind Map template

In Crazy 8s, your team has eight minutes to come up with eight ideas for solving a given problem. For example, you might prompt exploration with the question, “how might we make this experience delightful for our users?” The goal is to quickly generate ideas without getting too caught up in details or practical implementation. At the end of eight minutes, each teammate shares their ideas and discusses the ones they’d like to explore further.

The Crazy 8s template

This Brainstorms template encourages each participant to individually come up with as many ideas as possible. At the end of the session, the group comes back together to deliberate and identify common themes.

The Brainstorm template

Create a space in FigJam

To help your brainstorm session run smoothly, it’s important to set up your FigJam file in advance. A well-prepared file should give everyone the context they need to be successful, including the purpose of the brainstorm, the agenda for the session, and instructions for each activity. While many templates include some of these elements, you should customize them to fit your needs. You can also save setup time by sharing a link to the FigJam file in advance.

If you have multiple exercises in a brainstorm, we recommend creating a separate space and time estimate for each to help your team stay on track. If the FigJam file is already organized, it’ll be easy for others to reference it later and navigate through the file independently.

An example of how you might set up your FigJam file ahead of a brainstorm

Run the brainstorm

Now it’s time for the brainstorm. As the facilitator, it’s your job to keep the session moving and provide guidance along the way. Your participants should be doing most of the talking, sharing their ideas on stickies, drawing with the pencil tool, or pasting images and designs into FigJam. They can vote on ideas with stamps and stickers, or react to ideas in real time. Throughout the workshop, you can use FigJam’s built-in timer, audio chat, and cursor chat to communicate with your team without switching between FigJam and video conferencing tools—that way, you don’t distract them from the task at hand.

In the meantime, your participants should be engaging in conversations and letting their ideas flow. Participants can then vote on ideas as they're being presented.

Brainstorm participants can jot down thoughts on stickies and react with stamps

Codify decisions

Depending on what you do with the ideas collected in your brainstorm, it might help to embed the FigJam file in your project documentation, export stickies populated with your brainstorm ideas to a CSV, or copy it over to a Figma design file.