Brainstorming Tools


When planning to write a bid or tender, it is often useful to produce a storyboard and/ or a mind map for visualisation of new and innovative ideas and also to provide an overview of the overall project.


There is a shopping list that you need to be aware of before starting to write a tender or bid, for example:

  • Policies and/ or Strategy – does your organization have the necessary policies and strategies in place as many tender documents will ask for evidence of specific policies.
  • Capital or Revenue – what is the bid or tender for? What will it fund? Capital is plant, premises, equipment, for example and revenue are running costs such as staff time.
  • Always have the 5 Ps in mind! – Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance
  • Records- keep a record of all your funding applications as sometimes during intense periods will may have several bids and tenders submitted at one time.
  • References – not academic references but business and personal references may be asked for, especially to accompany tender documents
  • Insurances – Public liability, for example are usually necessary for tenders.
  • Storyboard –  Creative Thinking –  innovation will determine success of the bid. A storyboard/ mind map that I have used has been included

Creative thinking techniques are effective tools to develop new ideas and approaches to existing problems. Innovation is a creative solution to meet an existing need. Ideation and Springboarding are effective ways of identifying new and exciting ideas and several methods are presented such as the Mandala method (and diagram), the Lotus Blossom Technique of Yasuo Matsumara, of Clover Management Research in the 1960s and the SCAMPER Technique of Bob Eberle developed in 1971.

Example for a story board, source:

Mandala Diagram Tool

Sometimes it is useful to use the Mandala Diagram tool – you start with the vision at the centre. How will you achieve it? What’s stopping you? Its most effective when used by a team and its good for visualizing solutions.

The source of the Mandala Diagram is unknown, although I first saw it used by a colleague who was a textile designer at the University of Salford. It is derived from two similar creative problem solving tools, the Ishikawa Fishbone Diagram (Thakur, 2021 Wall Street Mojo) which identifies cause and effect (see diagram), and the Circle Map (Corner, 2019) and the 5-6 point Creative Problem Solving Cycle (Sarasota Innovation Centre) which focuses on finding solutions to identified problems. There are no barriers really …. Only solutions and opportunities!! It is one of many Ideation tools that could be used to think creatively about your application for funding or your tender.


Additional reading about the mandala diagram tool you can find here.

SCAMPER Technique

The SCAMPER Technique is a team brainstorming technique used to develop or improve products or services. SCAMPER is an acronym for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify/Magnify, Purpose, Eliminate/Minimize and Rearrange/Reverse. Check out the following link by Shah Mohammed (2017) on the uxblog.

Additional reading on the SCAMPER Technique you can find here.

Lotus Blossom Technique

The Lotus Blossom technique is a creative-thinking technique that will help you expand your thinking. The technique helps you to organize your thinking around significant themes. You start with a central subject and expand into themes and sub-themes, each with separate entry points. In the Lotus Blossom, the petals around the core of the blossom are figuratively “peeled back” one at a time, revealing a key component or theme. This approach is pursued in ever-widening circles until the subject or opportunity is comprehensively explored. The cluster of themes and surrounding ideas and applications, which are developed in one way or another, provide several different alternative possibilities. It’s a great way to think deeply and comprehensively about a problem or issue.