The process of brainstorming for video ideas

When it comes to generating ideas for videos, what typically springs to mind? For most, the answer is brainstorming. Indeed, it’s the most widely used method for generating ideas. While there are several approaches to brainstorming. Today we’ll focus on exploring the rarest and most effective method.

Synectics — is a heuristic approach to problem-solving that relies on associative thinking and the search for analogies relevant to the task. It operates on the principle of uncovering connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. By identifying such connections, the resulting ideas are both original and straightforward. William Gordon is credited as the originator of this method.

How does this Method Help Generate Original Ideas?

The peculiarity of this method is that in order to find analogies, we do not need a lot of experience or deep knowledge in the field where we want to come up with an original idea. In other words, you don’t need to be a professional screenwriter or writer to generate an idea for a video.

Anyone can find an analogy! Our task is to help him/her, to show the right direction and examples. Next, the brainstorming participants work independently. Each participant looks for analogies from their personal life experience, so the analogies they find are often unique.

People of different genders and ages are able to generate ideas using the Synectics method

We invited people from different professions, of different ages and with different types of thinking to our brainstorming sessions. The results show that the ideas of employees whose work is not related to creative professions generate ideas no worse, and sometimes even better, than experienced marketers and advertising and PR specialists.

Brainstormed ideas become finalized as they are processed. I call this process “Unraveling.” You’ll see later how it works.

How Can One Create an Innovative Video Using the Synectic Method?

My approach to brainstorming with the Synectic method has been significantly streamlined. This simplification allows for its use without any additional training. So, to start using this tool let’s see what analogies are.

Types of analogies:

  • Direct analogies
  • Subjective (personal) analogies
  • Symbolic analogies
  • Fantasy analogies

To be effective, we need a minimum of three participants, plus one facilitator. It would be ideal if you could invite five people to the brainstorming session.

Before you start working with analogies, clearly state the purpose of the brainstorming session and the object of the research, for example: your product or service.

The brainstorming moderator gives the task to the participants

The assignment could be, “You need to come up with an idea for a promotional video for a children’s development studio.”

Each participant should have a notebook and a pen to write down their thoughts. After the facilitator explains all kinds of analogies, each participant starts working independently. No one voices their ideas out loud. Participants can ask questions while working on analogies.

How Long does a Brainstorming Session Last?

You should allocate 15-20 minutes for finding analogies. If the participants in the brainstorming session already have experience with this method, the process moves faster.

Once the task of finding analogies is completed, the discussion begins. Each participant takes turns sharing their analogies, and the facilitator initiates the discussion process. During the discussion, the facilitator records the most successful ideas on the board. Each recorded idea will be discussed individually in the future.

Types of Analogies and Examples

Direct Analogies

Such analogies can be easily found by referring to various systems that solve similar problems. For example, paint for wood – skin for a person; medicine for heaviness in the stomach – flying in the wind dandelion; hydraulic elevator – a weightlifter lifting a barbell, and the like.
For convenience, ask yourself the question: “My slogan, my advertisement, my product is like…”. Compare it with some processes or phenomena from different fields.
Our example

"In our studio, children engage in shaping themselves and evolving, much like molding a formless piece of clay into a beautiful, elegant vase, resulting in the development of outstanding personalities." The video sequence shows us how first a person, then a society, then a state is formed through acquiring knowledge.

Subjective (personal) Analogies

Here, we explore the object under study through personal identification. We envision ourselves as the subject of our future commercial. We immerse ourselves in the object under study, describing how we would appear and behave. To simplify, we ask ourselves, “What would I be like and what would I do if I were in the video?”
It’s common to see actors embodying an inanimate object, bringing it to life. Picture yourself as, for instance, “an office chair,” and attempt to articulate your physical and emotional state in the first person. What sensations and emotions does the chair undergo when someone sits on it?
Our example

"If me was like a promotional video, I would aim to reveal the a story of how the childhoods of great individuals, scientists, and inventors unfolded; where their journeys began." This evokes a video sequence depicting various influential figures in science and the arts commencing their extraordinary paths from childhood.

Symbolic Analogies

In this analogy, we take one of the properties of the object under study and identify, contrast, and relate it to the properties of another object. As a result, you get a short phrase where the first and second half of the expression form a contradiction (but this is not always the case).
Famous examples: “Hot Snow”, “Living Corpse”, “Dead Souls”, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, “The Endless Deadlock”, “The End of Eternity”, “An Ordinary Miracle”, “With Eyes Wide Shut”, “True Lies”, “Tomorrow Was War”, “Bad Good Man”, “Grown Children”, “Back to the Future”.
Our example

"Inimitable Diversity." It's worth clarifying here. Right now it looks like a common phrase. But if you try to reveal its meaning, you can show how quality children's education gives birth to a huge variety of unique, inimitable personalities, future politicians, scientists, engineers, etc.

Fantastic Analogies

At this stage, we imagine the object under study in a way that cannot be seen in real life. It is not necessary to limit yourself. Fantasize, setting aside any prejudices.
Our example

"Knowledge, as in the movie "The Fifth Element", is an integral part of human life. Knowledge is that necessary element of the puzzle without which it is impossible to become a person in the modern world". It is easy to imagine what kind of commercial could be made using this idea.

Create even more amazing video ideas with technology: Information Field Research.

Processing of the Information Received

Everything that the brainstormers wrote in their notebooks and what the facilitator wrote on the board is material for creating ideas. This is important to understand.

Selection of the best ideas for their subsequent development

What follows is the “Unraveling” of this material and the formation of ideas. Gradually the visuals for future videos will emerge. It’s perfectly normal if half of what you come up with doesn’t turn into an idea.

To make Synectic’s work effectively, involve as many people as possible. Don’t be afraid to involve people from different backgrounds in the discussion.

How Fast does this Method Gives Results?

You’ll invest nearly 1.5 to 2 hours and generate several original ideas with a group of five people. It will take less time for a group of three. But the number of ideas will be almost halved. We assure you of this outcome.

Furthermore, this method facilitates rapid idea generation not only for videos but also for other types of content.

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