The Idea Machine Process vs. Old School Brainstorming

How does the Idea Machine compare to old-school brainstorming?

Idea Machine

The Idea Machine is a BrainStore-process that has strongly evolved over the last 20 years. It's robust, scalable, and applicable to almost any topic.

Old School Brainstorming

A group a people gathers around a flipchart and starts answering a question - often supported by a facilitator.

Idea Machine
Old School Brainstorming

Framing of the Topic

Before igniting the Idea Machine, the BrainStore team makes sure that there is a clear briefing and the briefing is shared with the participants.

Old-school brainstormings are often very ambiguous regarding a common understanding of the topic.

Getting started

Every Idea Machine Workshop is carefully prepared. What is the topic we will work on? Who should participate? How will we document the results? What will happen with the results? What tools will we use? This includes a detailed schedule of the steps.

Old-school brainstormings are often initiated spontaneously with little preparation and random participants or the usual suspects.

Composition of the Community

BrainStore focuses on a carefully curated group of participants for the brainstorming based on the topic.

Often ad hoc teams.

Team Size

The Idea Machine allows you to integrate as many people as necessary and is fully scalable. When composing the community, the BrainStore team emphasizes a well-balanced mix of participants representing broad viewpoints. You can use the Idea Machine with any number of participants (minimum is 6).

For an efficient Old-School Brainstorming the limit of number of participants is about 10.

Dealing with Hierarchies

Thanks to the design of the Idea Machine process, participants from different hierarchies within an organization can all contribute fearlessly and boldly with their ideas, comments, and feedback.

Participants in old-school brainstormings are often intimidated by other participants and contribute with pleasing content, not powerful ideas.


A defined structure based on the proven process and a set of state-of-the-art tools guarantee efficiency of time and resources.

All phases of generating inputs, building on each other's ideas, group discussion, deciding on the best one(s) are mixed together with no specific time frame or structure. Leading to inefficiency, drawn out discussions and frustration of participants.

Tickling the Brain

Thanks to over 20 years of ongoing development, the IdeaMachine will tickle all parts of the participant's brains with stimulating questions, images, tools, and interaction forms. Everybody can contribute to the outcome and respects the different personalities and preferred working styles. Expression of ideas can happen in various forms - in writing, in exchange, or in the enhancement of ideas of others.

Old-school brainstormings are often very dull. A facilitator, a flipchart, and a board marker. In the corner of the meeting room: a depressed potted plant screaming inside because it no longer supports the eternal spinning in circles.

Identifying Good Ideas

The IdeaMachine works with extraction. From every phase, the leading ideas are extracted and refined. The final list consists of broadly accepted and strongly polarizing ideas - yes, those too, as they have high potential.

In old-school brainstormings, the participants reduce the number of ideas by eliminating the ones they don't like. The more participants and the more divers the team, the fewer ideas result. Often the least bad ideas win.

Quality of Results

Thanks to structured processes, tools, and real-time documentation, the Idea Machine leads to a surprising variety of ideas that are concrete and relevant. In record time.

Very short "brainstorming" phase, often with very few good ideas as the output.

Documentation and Transparency

Every step of the Idea Machine process is documented, and results are available online instantly.

Inputs are noted on flip-chart paper, there is no assurance that all ideas will be documented. Evaluation of old-school brainstormings might take very long or might never happen.

And now what?

After the brainstorming with the Idea Machine, a set of clearly defined, proven steps guarantee the further processing of the content.

Thank you for participating. What should we do now?

Personal Satisfaction

The participants feel energized and heard and leave the workshop inspired. In addition, the documentation helps them with their work.

People often leave the room without a perspective regarding the results and feel it was a wasted time dominated by power players. In addition, they don't feel heard.