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  • Writer's pictureKaylie Dugan

Unleashing Creativity: My Journey Towards Mastering Effective Brainstorming Techniques


Many years ago, I had a string of qualitative market research assignments from Clorox that resulted in several new products that proved successful at the shelf. One of the assistant brand managers on the team asked me a life-changing question. “Kaylie, you have cool ways of helping respondents be more creative. Can you do the same for me and my brand team?”

The answer that would be given by any sharp marketing entrepreneur was “Yes, of course I can.” I had been part of ideation sessions before, even though I didn’t find them particularly inspiring. And now I had to figure out really quickly how to do more creative brainstorming for a major client. OMG, how do I do that?


I went to a large Barnes & Noble bookstore (this was long before Amazon) and went to the business section. I was fortunate enough to find three books that helped launch my career as a market researcher and brainstorming facilitator. I still gratefully acknowledge how much they taught me and helped me jump-start a successful career. Although these books may seem dated today, you might want to read them or check out later works from the same brilliant men.


JUMP START YOUR BRAIN by Doug Hall

Jump Start Your Brain by Doug Hall was the first one I read. Doug Hall is a down-to-earth ideation genius who started out at Procter & Gamble, later creating his own firm specializing in brainstorming. He talks about the process, offering many important tips on improving the practice. He also writes about some tools that help participants be more creative. Later on, Doug created a facility – the Eureka! Ranch – where clients go to do their best work. I’m grateful Doug gave me permission to use one of his best tools – Don’t Sell Me – which you can read about in a past blog I wrote.


THINKERTOYS by Michael Michalko

This book was next. ThinkerToys opened me up to the idea that the brain needed stimuli to do more creative thinking. Michael Michalko calls them toys, whereas I call them Tools. The book details creativity tools facilitators can use, and I started there. Soon I came to realize I have a natural talent for designing new Tools that serve the same purpose. And while I now use my own proprietary Tools, I relied on Mickalko’s material for the first few sessions I led. God bless him for giving me the confidence to move forward.


6 THINKING HATS by Edward de Bono

6 Thinking Hats was the third book I discovered, written by the dean of creative thinking, Edward de Bono. His work let me see the importance of the many different skills it takes to create and fully develop ideas. I used to rely on the Six Hats in theory early on in my practice till the far-reaching strategy became second nature. His theories have morphed into the popular new model, Super Powers. Read more about that in this recent blog.


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Driven to Succeed is an award-winning global market research and consulting firm that compliments data (the “what”) with empathetic research and conversations (the “why”) to uncover actionable insights so mid-market companies and Fortune 500 brands can innovate and grow. Our team has walked a mile in your shoes with over 100 years of experience in Market Research, Marketing, and P&L Management for global iconic brands and startup companies across diverse B2B and B2C industries. Learn more at https://www.DriventoSucceedLLC.com.


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