An inclusive brainstorm involves the whole team to solve a problem.

It’s great for people with different communication styles, such as the person who loves to speak out loud and the person who would rather write.

It uses a human-centred design problem statement to kick off the thinking. And collaboration to generate discussion.

    2 or more
    Diverse and inclusive teams

What you’ll need


If you’re together physically, you’ll need:

  • a blank wall or board
  • markers
  • post-it notes
  • sticky dots


If your team is working remotely, you’ll need to set up an online tool.

When you choose a tool, check if anyone in your team has accessibility needs and that they’ll be able to easily use it.

Some free tools you can use are:

But this is just a list of examples. There are a lot of tools.

Scheduling the session

Set up your meeting at a time where you’ll get the best results.

This means to think about the diverse needs of each of your team members.

Think of things like this:

  • Do some people work better earlier or later in the day?
  • Does anyone have kids or caring responsibilities that mean they need to start late or leave early?
  • Is there a time to avoid due to other work commitments?

How to run the activity

This a rough schedule of how you can run the session.

The key thing is to set a timer for each section of your session and stick to each time.

When people have a limited time to think, they’ll focus on the things that matter to them the most.

Step 1: work out the problem before you run the activity

Work out the problem you’re trying to solve with a ‘how might we’ statement:

  • ‘How might we [name of your issue], so that we can [outcome you want]?’

This may look like this:

  • ‘How might we highlight good work in our team to the organisation, so that we can make each person in our team feel good about their work?’

Step 2: run the activity

Here’s a rough schedule

Acknowledge country (20 seconds)

Always acknowledge the traditional owners before you start.

It shows your respect for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

Set the scene (5 minutes)

Give them background on what you want to solve.

Don’t talk about constraints just yet.

You want to encourage broad and diverse thinking in your team.

Brainstorm ideas (5 minutes)

Provide the team with a prompt related to the problem you’re solving.

Ask each person to write down one idea per post-it note.

There’s no limit to how many ideas everyone can write down.

Group ideas (10 minutes)

Go around to each person and ask them to start sticking their post-it notes to a shared working space. This may be using your online tool or a blank wall.

As each person puts their post-it notes on the wall, ask them to group similar ideas together.

Discuss ideas (10 minutes)

As a group, talk through each person’s ideas or groups of ideas, noting the:

  • pros of each idea
  • cons of each idea
  • constraints that may stop you from doing an idea
  • risks the idea may have if you used it

If an idea is unclear, ask the person who wrote it to explain it further.

Vote on ideas (10 minutes)

Tell each person they have 3 votes and agree on what visual mark you’ll all use to indicate a vote.

For example, you may ask everyone to draw a line on a post-it note to visualise 1 vote. Or, you may give them stickers to place on post-it notes.

Ask everyone to vote on what they think is the best idea or group of ideas they see. They can use all 3 of their votes on one idea.

When everyone’s voted, see what ideas are the most popular.

If it doesn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable, ask everyone to discuss why they voted a certain way.