Ideate with 6-3-5 Brainwriting

A brainstorming technique that encourages to build on the ideas of others

The 6-3-5 Brainwriting ideation technique helps a team come up with a large number of ideas in a short timeframe by drawing inspiration from previously mentioned ones.
This technique encourages equal participation from all members of a team and helps to avoid domination of the conversations by louder members.


Generate ideas with Brainwriting


Designers, Architects, End-Users


45-60 minutes



Before You Start

You have created at least one Problem Statement
You have condensed the problem you want to solve into one or more statement(s) of opportunity, for which you want to generate ideas now. We recommend you create your problem statement (“How might we…”) with the following method:

Create a Problem Statement

Materials you will need

Templates for Download

Templates for Virtual Collaboration

(Registration to MURAL is required)


Ideating with the 6-3-5 Brainwriting method includes several steps. We recommend completing them in one session.
  • 1-2 minutes

Review the “How Might We..” question(s)

Keep the “How Might We” question or problem statement visible for all participants. All participants receive a sheet with the provided template.

Instead of writing the ideas directly onto the template, stick squared post-it notes onto the provided squares on the template to later make the clustering easier.

  • 5 minutes

Participants write 3 ideas in 5 minutes

Participants have 5 minutes to write 3 ideas in the top 3 squares of the provided template to solve the selected problem.

If you have to cut time, give 3 minutes instead of 5 for the first ideation round, but make sure to have enough time to read the existing ideas.

  • 5 minutes

Pass the sheet to your neighbour for the next round

Each participant passes the sheet of paper to his or her left neighbour, and each team member generates the next 3 ideas inspired by the previous ideas on the paper.

  • 5 minutes per round

Repeat step 3

Repeat step 3 until every participant has written on all the sheets of paper.

See completed example

  • 10 minutes

Review all generated ideas and cluster them.

Detach the sticky notes from the templates and cluster them in a meaningful way as the team sees fit.

  • 3-5 minutes

Vote for the best ideas

The team should align on voting constraints such as how the outcome will influence the next steps, how many votes everyone gets, etc.

The voting should be a quiet exercise so that participants can concentrate on the clusters. It also prevents people from lobbying for their opinions.

You're done!