Crazy 8’s is a fun, hectic, and fast-paced exercise and is excellent for rapid idea generation. Quite often in brainstorming, the most memorable ideas are posed last in the session. Irregardless of the last idea’s quality, or how revolutionary the early concepts were. Without a method for recording concepts, early ideas are unfortunately lost. Within Crazy 8’s, innovators rapidly develop eight new concepts in eight minutes.

There are multiple phases where it may be advantageous to deploy Crazy 8’s,
► Immediately after the problem has been defined including customer insights and selecting opportunities.. The “How Might We” method is an effective tool for completing this.
► Workshops with limited time. Define the problem prior to the workshop, and facilitate the team through crazy 8’s. Next, have each person take 10 – 15 minutes to build their different concepts into 1 solution. This 1 solution will be shared with the group.
► If idea generation is slowing in a workshop, take a 5 minute break, then relaunch beginning with crazy 8’s. This is an opportunity for give innovators uninterrupted time to build upon previously generated concepts.
► Use as an independent brainstorming activity. By yourself? This method can be a 1-player game too!

How to do it!

The name “crazy” is referred to the pace at which ideas are generated and progressed. Crazy is not related to the quality of the idea, but don’t limit to solely pragmatic concepts. You may feel you have a good solution, but crazy 8’s, when properly employed, will expand the opportunities. The challenge with this method is developing 8 distinct versions of a solution or 8 completely new solutions. This forces teams to push beyond obvious and reasonable solutions and consider alternatives. The first 4 to 5 ideas will come easy and are likely already known. The last 3 to 4 ideas will be difficult to generate. I often find the last two concepts are the most innovative, so don’t give up!

Needed Supplies

  • Countdown timer
  • Sheet of paper
  • Pen or pencil.

The first step is to fold your sheet of paper in half three times, then unfold it as shown below,

Prepping Your Paper

With the paper unfolded, there are eight panels – each panel to hold a new solution or rendition of your idea. Set the countdown time to 60 seconds. Spend the full 60 seconds per section and don’t move to the next section. Be fast and messy, only you will see what is on this page. Use any medium you feel best conveys what’s in your head: words, pictures, diagrams, mock user interface, cartoon – be creative! When the time goes off, time to move to the next panel – repeat for 8 minutes!

This method works great to develop additional variations of the same idea. To build further, try using SCAMPER to grow concepts even further! The process can be repeated for different users (adult, woman, child, doctor, engineer, sports star, pop singer, Russian Oligarch).


Then what…

Examine your eight brilliant (and messy) ideas for insights or promising ideas you would like to move forward to expand upon. It is perfectly acceptable to combine multiple panels as well!

The next phase is to develop your best idea(s). Then test your sketch/drawing/prototype/slogan with others and gain feedback. Continue to iterate with this feedback, and maybe even run Crazy 8’s again!


Here’s an Example

Problem: People need to be able to use glassware without fear of condensation and it’s buildup on a surface or their hands.

How are people feeling about your problem?

Re-frame Your Problem using “How Might We…”

Begin Crazy 8’s to Develop Solutions to Your Re-framed Problem Statement

Don’t Judge my Sketching Skills – The point is to Identify Ideas to Potentially Move Forward

Pick Your Best Ideas for Further Development and/or Prototyping for Feedback!

For this problem, the challenge wasn’t just use a koozie to reduce condensation because based on survey results, most people own a koozie, but just forget to put it on! With the permanent leather wrap, you can transform (most) any glass into a condensation reducing dream cup!


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