Physical and Digital Brainstorming Combined5 min read

digital brainstorm

Digital brainstorming has been developed during the digitalization of the world over the last few decades. Physical brainstorming sessions are already popular in organizations and organizations are deciding which one of the two to use. The old, but trusted, method or the upcoming digitalization of the concept? However, our question is: why choose?

Which one is the best?

Physical brainstorming has been a big part of innovation in organizations. Yet, they are looking at modern alternatives of the brainstorming they have been using. With the development of digital brainstorming, their modern option has arrived. The question is: is it better than physical brainstorming? Both have their advantages and disadvantages that both will be discussed.

Extroverts in brainstorming

A disadvantage of physical brainstorming is that extroverts mainly lead them. By raising their voice and sharing their opinion about almost all ideas, they prevent introverts of sharing their ideas to the group. Because the ideas of introverts are no less as those of extroverts, many good ideas will not be shared by the introverts in the brainstorm. This doesn’t happen in digital brainstorming. Because the participants share their ideas by typing and submitting them, there can’t be a dominant participant in the brainstorm that leads the conversation. Therefore, they are less likely to stay on the background.


Physical brainstorming is very effective if you want everyone to participate. Not every participant is very active from the start in a brainstorm. If someone hasn’t said anything for a while, the brainstorm leader can ask for their opinion or share an idea on the subject. This prevents participants from lacking and makes them active within the brainstorm.

Brainstorm group

Digital illiteracy

The generation that starts working right now is generation Z, also known as the digital natives. Far from everyone in organizations is as good with computers as them, while we expect everyone to be comfortable around electronical devices. Especially the older people that close in on their retirement are less handy with electronic devices than the younger generation. It is very likely that a large number of this group will come across problems and get stuck in the software, if you choose to include them in a digital brainstorm session. To avoid the inefficiency, it is better to exclude the digital illiterate group. Unfortunately, this causes a new problem. This causes a limitation in the number of people that can participate due to the using of using the digital version of brainstorming; a problem that would never occur using physical brainstorming.

Anonymity in brainstorming

An advantage of digital brainstorming is anonymity. In normal brainstorms it is commonly said that “there aren’t any bad ideas”, but some people will always be scared of the judgement of the other participants. When the brainstorm is executed digitally, the participants are anonymous. They can post ideas without anyone knowing it’s their idea. The ‘freedom’ that they receive from this anonymity is translated into more ideas, because they don’t feel the social pressure as they feel in a normal brainstorm.


The two complement each other as you might have noticed. The physical brainstorm has negatives that digital brainstorm can solve and vice versa. The discussion in organizations is commonly about choosing between physical sessions or to go digital. But why? When you see how they resolve each other’s weaknesses, it looks like they were made for each other. Therefore, don’t choose between the two, do them both!

The ultimate brainstorming technique

Start with the physical brainstorming. This makes sure that everyone is involved in the subject. It also raises engagement in digital brainstorming later on, because the participants already started the brainstorming process and want to finish it. After the first obvious ideas have been discussed in the physical brainstorm, the digital brainstorming can begin.

Deeper and better ideas than the obvious ones are less easy to think of and require a more courage to share. This is where the advantages of digital brainstorming help. The fear of judgement fades when being able to post ideas anonymously. This way, people are more willing to share bolder and out-of-the-box ideas. Also being able to post ideas from everywhere, at any time, helps. The less obvious an idea is, the harder it is to think of. Chances are that the participants will not think of these ideas at the physical brainstorms, but they might do in following days. When this happens, they are able to submit them immediately by using the software they can use on their phone, tablet or computer.

Digital brainstorming

Digital brainstorm platform

Accept Mission is a digital brainstorm platform. The platform contains multiple tools to brainstorm and idea management to organize it. The selection tool lets you select the best ideas from the brainstorm to innovate with. Its gamification elements improve the appeal to the users and increases the widely sought-after employee engagement. Let us know if you are interested in digital brainstorming. Contact us here.

Published On: October 16th, 2019Categories: Idea generation

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