Brainstorming vs. Brainwriting: Similarities and Differences

It is human nature to get bored by doing the same chores repeatedly. The longer employees do the same task, they are much more likely to produce less effective results. This is where the importance of creative thinking comes into play. Brainwriting is a technique that allows people to think outside of the box compared to traditional brainstorming, and this article will detail how standard brainwriting techniques are significantly different from conventional brainstorming.

Brainstorming Explained

Brainstorming is not a new technique and has been in the corporate sector for ages. However, there is no doubt about its popularity and how it has been effectively performing in generating creative ideas. In brainstorming, participants are given a topic on which they are asked to come up with thoughts and ideas.

The corporate sector uses this technique to encourage their employees to solve complex problems or to come up with futuristic plans for their brands. The psychology behind brainstorming is it drags people out of their comfort zones and encourages them to yield something fruitful through collaborative ideation.

Brainwriting Explained

Besides brainstorming, there is one more technique: an upgraded version of brainstorming, which is brainwriting. Each participant is asked to write their ideas and suggestions related to the given topic. This alternative technique was adopted to create an authentic collaborative setting by giving everyone an equal platform to engage.

Rather than acknowledging only the dominant participants, Brainwriting successfully manages to offer time and space to each member in the group and offer them their chances to stand out.

Brainwriting Techniques

Brainwriting is not limited to only one variant, but it is divided into several approaches for people to choose what suits them the best. The most popular brainwriting variants are,

  1. 6-3-5 Brainwriting
  2. Collaborative Brainwriting
  3. Remote Brainwriting

6-3-5 Brainwriting

As the name suggests, this brainwriting variant includes 6, 3, and 5 as the leading figures for participants. 6-3-5 brainwriting includes a group of 6 people given a task to write down three different ideas in a given time of five minutes.

As the time ends, every participant has to submit their ideas to the person sitting next to them so that they can start over and add three more ideas. The process has six rounds and is meant to generate approximately 108 ideas. These ideas will then be reviewed by the chairperson or the person conducting the activity.

Collaborative (Asynchronous) Brainwriting

Collaborative brainwriting is designed to let all team members participate and post a proposed idea or suggestion regardless of their inhibitions.

After this, on any suggested time slot, the other team members can visit the post and add their ideas and suggestions. This is effective for teams that are separated or working remotely and need to utilize an asynchronous collaboration solution.

Remote Brainwriting

Remote brainwriting is when a traditional brainwriting session is conducted remotely through an online whiteboard. On this platform, teams will select a pre-made brainwriting template and begin working on building their ideas together. They will conduct the session just like normal, and at the end, they will all come together and discuss their ideas. Even though it’s conducted remotely, this is still a very collaborative process and will be engaging for everyone.

If you can’t access an online whiteboard, multiple virtual tools support remote brainwriting.

Popular brainwriting tools and platforms are,

  • Instant messenger
  • Email
  • Blogs or wikis
  • Google spreadsheets
  • Virtual whiteboards
  • Zoom Conferences

It might seem more accessible than other variants, but remote brainwriting can be quite tricky, especially if your team members have a poor internet connection. Moreover, there are plenty of technical difficulties that team members might face. To avoid them, consult your tech support before conducting any remote brainstorming session.


Brainwriting generates high-quality ideas and creative plans in a more impactful way. If you want to learn more about brainwriting, make sure you check out our article on its advantages and applications.

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