Skip to main content


Field of application

Creativity skills development



This "brain warming" game can be used also as an ideation tool. Its a short game where players compete to generate ideas as fast as they can. Can be used in the classroom as a creativity exercise or in innovation processes as a way to generate new ideas.
Each participant uses the STOP format to write its ideas trying to be the first to fill all the blank spaces.
Its a very funny game (Laughs alert)

Category: Brainwarming


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

This game can be played by teams of 1 to 6 people. The minimum number of teams is 3 and the maximum 10.



Generate new ideas to solve a problem or improve a situation while having a good time. 




  • STOP format
  • Pen
  • Inspirational images. You can use decks of cards with images or clippings of magazine pictures. Also is possible to use a projector or TV Set to show images from the internet.
  • A digital board (Jamboard, Microsoft board, Miro or similar) with the STOP format as background. The participants can fill the format spaces using the Write or the Post-it tool.
    The image search tool from any search engine can provide the images needed for the game.


  • 30 minutes
Implementation - Overview

Once each team has its own format, the facilitator presents the image to be used as inspiration and gives the signal for every team to start writing, as fast as possible, the ideas for each category in the forma, inspired by the image shown. The first team to finish calls "STOP" and everybody must stop writing. Then the facilitator asks each team to read its ideas to validate them and assign a point for each one.
The game can last for three to five rounds before defining the winner. The winner will be the team with the most points.


Implementation - Guidelines

1. Preparation: The STOP format must be adapted to facilitate the purpose of the exercise.
- Define how many categories the format will have. Between 5 and 8 would be good.
- Define the name of each category. This name is the type of idea each participant must write on the respective column. For example, a category can be: "A way to ask someone to marry" or "A new marketing strategy". Every player will need to figure out how to answer the title of each column using as inspiration the image. For example, if the image is a chair, the player must think of a way to ask someone to marry her using a strategy inspired in a chair. It's not necessary to use the object depicted in the image. In fact is desirable that each participant get inspiration from the object but avoid using it. In the case of the chair, the participant can imagine a "four step strategy" (As the chair has 4 legs). A good way to distribute the categories is to mix "serious" with "playful" ones. The serious categories are those relate with the real problem we want to solve.


2. Print all the formats needed and give one to each team along with one or several pens (As a good strategy a team can decide to have several teammates writing simultaneously)

3. The facilitator (or a participant) picks and shows the image for the round

4. The facilitator gives the signal for all the teams to start writing to fill all the spaces in the format.

5. Once a team finishes completely all the spaces on the line (at least one idea for each category), can call "STOP" out loud. This is a signal for all the teams to stop writing and go to the next phase.

6. Starting with the team who called STOP, the facilitator reads aloud all the ideas written and validates them. If the idea answers the question (the category) and seems to be inspired by the image, the team receives one point. The best way to do this is to review all the ideas proposed by the teams for one category before going to the next.
Its important for the facilitator to be flexible enough to allow "weird" explanations about the way the team took inspiration on the image to find the idea. Remember that the final objective is to find new and valuable ideas no matter the real origin. Usually this is a hilarious phase, which is good for creativity.

7. The teams can use the next line on the format to play the next round using a new image.


Example of


A big chemical company embraced the new marketing strategy of being closer to its distribution chain in several countries. As a result, the company started a series of innovation sessions in order to help some of them to create strong competitive advantages in their own markets. The WakeUpBrain team was hired to facilitate these sessions.
Having constraints of time as each 2 hour session must end with an action plan including three to five initiatives, the facilitation team had to think of a way to "warm brains" and start ideating simultaneously. In this situation, the STOP tool was selected as the first activity to be executed on each session.

The categories for the STOP were:
- The title for a new thriller book
- A way to understand better
- A game to entertain 20 children in a party
- A way to accelerate the launching of new products
- A joke

To get the inspiration image the facilitation team provided a deck of WakeUpBrain game cards.

Being distributors of different sizes, the working groups ranged between 8 and 25 people. As the reading phase can take too much time, the amount of teams was set to be 4 in every case. Too many teams would have made the activity too long.

The facilitator gave the instructions and ran two rounds of STOP. Once read, the formats were placed on the wall as an initial set of ideas to work with.


Templates, Graphics for download STOP Format