CLUSTERING. Brain clustering  is a brainstorming technique that combines the silent generation of ideas with the random clustering of  people and ideas. The guidelines are:

1. Discuss and post a general challenge. Example: “In what ways might we create a more innovative corporation?”

2. Each participant writes 8 responses or ideas on cards. One idea per card.

3. The facilitator collects and shuffles the cards from the entire group.

4. The facilitator randomly distributes 3 cards to each participant. Make sure that no participant receives his or her original cards. Ask everyone to study the cards and to arrange them in order of personal preference. The facilitator spreads the leftover cards on a table face up.

6. Ask participants to exchange the cards they don’t like with those on the table. Allow a couple of minutes for this activity.

7. Next, ask participants to exchange cards with each other. Every participant must exchange at least one card and may exchange any number.

8.  Ask participants to form clusters. There is no limit to the number of participants who may join the same cluster,  but no cluster may keep more than three cards.

9. Instruct each cluster  to prepare a creative way to present their three ideas to the group. They might create a graphic poster, bumper sticker, slogan, logo, T-shirt, television commercial, song and so on.

Civic officials in Cambridge, England cluster brainstormed to create something that would attract the curiosity of visitors. The bizarre idea they decided to work on was to make park benches behave like kind of humans.

They hired an inventor to equip six benches and bins with sensors that allowed them to move and flock around the square. Visitors to the public square in Cambridge, England see six benches and six bins.

The benches and bins drift slowly around the square no faster than a strolling human. Often the benches will arrange themselves into different patterns. Sensors stop them when they are close to other objects. When no one is sitting on a bench, the bench will move to another position in a new space to make itself more attractive for visitors. Sometime when most of the benches are sat on, they will burst into song with the bins joining in with soprano voices.

When it rains, the benches move to shadier, drier places while the bins shiver become more solitary.


Michael Michalko is a highly acclaimed creativity expert. To learn about him visit:

To learn about his books visit:


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