Creating a focus question for your brainstorming sessions

Writing a good brief is as important as having a good creative process. The brief defines the goals, direction and problems to solve. If you or your team don't have it clear, the ideation process will be pointless.

After our experience, we wrote down these points that would hopefully help you to narrow your brief into a valid focus question.

 
 

Focus question tips

Use them to summarise your brief better and perfectly define your goals for the session.

1. It better be a question

Questions are more suggestive than sentences. Your brain feels more motivated to solve a problem that it's open and directly talks to you. For example, it's better to have "How could we launch our new product?" than "Ideas to launch our new product".

 

3. One thing at a time

Don't fall into the temptation of adding a lot of goals and details to your focus problem. It needs to tackle one thing at a time. If there are more elements, you need to consider, add them later when you have some ideas generated already.

The more you focus on one specific goal, the more effective your ideas will be.

2. Make it concise

Your focus question should be short and straightforward. Complicated sentences provoke complex mental processes.

 

4. Write it down

You might feel like it's enough to say it out loud and check everyone heard you, but no. Always write the focus question on a post-it or piece of paper. Have it in front of you for the whole session. Don't forget it!

 

Focus questions templates

Use this list to determine not only how you could formulate your focus questions correctly, but which deck is better to use for solving it.

Campaign Deck

How might we communicate our brand message to the target group?
Plan ways of delivering your brand message through different strategies and advertising channels. In this case, you have a brand or product you want to promote but are trying to find a way to grab their attention with an original tactic.

How might we create a campaign for ______?
Find ways of designing your advertising strategy. In this case, you already have a message and a medium, but you still don't know how the actual campaign will be.

How might we design an engaging advertising piece?
Think about how to go beyond a classic communication piece. In this case, you have the challenge to create an advertising action, but you still don't know how to make participatory.

 
 

Human-Centric Deck

How might we create a new product/service for _______?
Plan a new release for a particular sector, industry or target group. In this case, you want to expand your audience with a new product or service, but you want to explore what that new thing would be.

How might we improve the experience of ________?
Find ways of making the experience more interesting for your users. In this case, you already you have the challenge of improving the user journey, but you still don't know how.

How might we add extra value to our product?
Think about how to add features that will serve a purpose. In this case, you have to find functionality that will help your users love your product or service, but you still don't know which one that will be.

 
 

Innovation Deck

How might we launch an innovative campaign to promote _____?
Design a talk-worthy communication campaign for a brand or organisation. In this case, you have the goal of getting media and audience attention with an innovative communication action, but you still have to find how.

How might we modernise our product or service?
Find ways of updating a business experience. In this case, you have the challenge of making a project innovative, but you still have to explore ways of doing it.

How might we add technology to our product or service?
Think about making the product you are offering techy or digital in a meaningful way. In this case, you have to find a way to translate an experience digitally, but you have to work on how that might look like.

 
 

Serendipity Deck

How might we create an interactive experience for ______?
Think of ideas where users will have an immersive experience. In this case, you have to create something more innovative than just a communication campaign, but need to explore ways of making it engaging.

How might we create a campaign for ______?
Find ways of surprising your audience with an original communication action. In this case, you have the challenge of getting people's attention, but you still have to explore ways of doing it.

How might we create PR buzz for _______?
Think about ways of catching media and users attention. In this case, you need to sound louder than your competition and other marketing messages, but you have to work on how to do it.

 
 

Brand Strategy Deck

How might we design our brand platform?
Think of behaviours, communication style, the tone of voice and everything that will make a brand unique. In this case, you have a brand you need to design, but don't know yet how to make it different to the others.

How might we develop our brand's personality?
Find ways of crafting a personal tone of voice. In this case, you need to find a way in which a brand will communicate, but you want to consider different approaches first.

How might we make our brand react to ______ situation?
Think about how a brand can behave in a particular situation. In this case, you might be getting ready to a particular context or designing your brand's behaviour for a future event, but you don't have a clear path yet.

 
 

Graphic Deck

How might we solve the graphics part of _______?
Imagine the visual shape of a project. In this case, you already have an idea, brand or product you are working with, but don't know yet how to solve the graphics part.

How might we design a graphic system for a brand?
Find ways of matching your brand personality with a design solution. In this case, you have defined the tone of voice and values for a brand, but you need to start working on its visuals.

How might we add value to the design aspects of the project?
Think about ways of creating a visual impact. In this case, you have to work on illustrations, packaging or design, but you don't know how to make it as appealing as possible.

 
 

Storytelling Deck

How might we tell our brand's story?
Explore how you can deliver your brand's message in different pieces like a website or an ad. In this case, you already have an idea, brand or product you are working with, but don't know yet how to tell its story in a meaningful way.

How might we tell our message in a ______?
Find ways of taking the most out of a particular medium. In this case, you have defined a message you need to tell, but you need to explore how to adapt it at a specific platform like Youtube, a magazine or a podcast.

How might we create a narrative for ______?
Think about ways of translating a story into a different medium. In this case, you something you need to communicate but have to adapt it to a different format.

 
 

Business Design Deck

How might we find new ways of monetising our project?
Explore other ways of getting money for your project. In this case, you an idea, company or plan and want to expand its business model with other revenue streams.

How might we rethink our current organisation?
Find ways of structuring a company to make it more efficient and agile. In this case, you work with a project but haven't think about its organisational model yet.

How might we make our project feasible?
Imagine creative ways of financing a project. In this case, you are working with an idea that might be lacking the financial plan but still want to make it happen.