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Ideas multiplication

Field of application



Resume / Brief description

A powerful technique that can take one idea and use it as the origin for several others. The technique builds something similar to a tree of words, where it is possible to read different phrases only changing the way it is read. To build this tree, the ideator can start a new branch from any space between to words of the original phrase (the original idea). In some ways, this tools seems to be familiar with the mind mapping technique but it is not used just as a way to resume or show some information but as a way to force the brain to find new alternatives to an original idea. The similarity of building makes it possible to use the same Mind Mapping tools available online.


Category: Ideation


Target group 
  • Entrepreneurs
  • I&D teams
  • Innovation teams
  • Students
  • Community
Group size

Can be played as a personal tool of a group building exercise. The ideal size of the grup is 3 to 6 people. Multiple teams can be using the tool simultaneously



To generate multiple ideas starting from an original one.




  • blank paper sheet
  • Pens, pencils, colors
  • a mind mapping tool (Coggle, MindMup, Gitmind, or other)


  • 30 - 60 minutes
Implementation - Overview This is a very simple and fast tool. You, as a facilitator must direct the group to follow these steps:

1. Definition of the initial idea
2. Writing the initial idea on the paper or the mind mapping tool word by word
3. Branch building starting on any space between the words of the original idea
4. Sub-branch building by following the same process over the newly built branches.
Implementation - Guidelines

1. Define the problem or challenge to solve. Must be visible for everybody. Make sure that everyone in the group understands the problem correctly.
2. Conduct an initial Brainstorming activity to collect some ideas to start the Ideas multiplicator.
3. Assign one idea to each team to work with. The team must write it in the middle of the page so they can have enough space to build the branches.
4. Assign a time to work (20 to 40 minutes will be a good amount of time) and ask each team to "activate" the ideas multiplicator. This means that the participants from each team must define one space between two words of the original idea and start a new branch there. Then the participants must read the phrase just to the point where the branch starts and tray to continue the phrase using a different sense or meaning to the original idea. The participant writing this new idea must do it word by word so new sub-branches can start on any point of the new idea.


Example of application:

In this example, a telecommunications company was using their recently trained innovation leaders to ideate new ways to increase the customer satisfaction. The leaders were divided into 3 groups, 12 persons each. Each group worked in a 2 hour session to generate ideas that will be included in the internal innovation platform to be evaluated.

The session was designed as a challenge competition where one team could decide where in the original idea, the other team must create a new branch. This variation added emotion to the activity and brought more originality to the results. The phases were:

1. The facilitator presented the challenge to the participants: "To find innovative ways to increase the customer satisfaction"
2. The facilitator opened a public brainstorming and wrote all the ideas on a big board in front of the room
3. The group was divided into 3 teams of 4 participants each
4. Each team selected one of the ideas shown on the board to work with
5. A representative from each team went to the board and marked the specific points where new branches must be added. 3 points were added to each idea
6. In the TV set present in the room, the timer was set to 40 minutes and the facilitator gave the start sign.
7. Every team could add all the branches they want but must include new branches on the marked spots.
8. A second round was played using other 3 ideas from the original brainstorming.
9. A final count of new ideas generated by each team, defined the winner.

An incredible amount of new ideas were generated on those 3 sessions: more than 120 new ideas. This situation made necessary to appoint a new session to pre-select the ideas with the greater potential.


Templates, Graphics for download

Ideas Multiplication Format
Additional format/references