Here, I explain Brainswarming using a different type of graph for a different type of problem.
One key to crafting new variations and uses for a product is to notice what other people are overlooking.
Here is a simple technique called the 50 Viewing Lenses to help you notice what you are probably overlooking about your product. Here is a link where I used the technique to create new candleholder designs.
If you like the technique, here is how I would suggest using it as a group.
Using the 50 Viewing Lenses, have your group silently list all the features they can about your product. Write each feature on a Post-It note and place it on a wall in no particular pattern so everyone can look at them. (Contact me if you would like the full list of all 50 Viewing Lenses.)
Now, have your group silently place the listed features that seem promising to vary in a circular pattern around a picture of your product (e.g., gift bag). They move the promising Post-Its into a circular pattern on a different part of the wall.
For the gift bag example, you might consider multiple-compartment gift bags, which might lead to a new use for gift bags. Have a long, narrow compartment for wine and a broader compartment for cheese. This is a made-up example (and this wine gift bag might already exist), but I have successfully used this basic technique in helping a marketing company derive variations for a product.
People can either continue to work silently or start to talk as they create new designs or uses that emerge from this wheel of promising features.
Dr. Tony McCaffrey is available to lead groups in the Brainswarming process and teach more of the heuristics.
Contact me at email@example.com
I am open to hearing about feedback and questions from your Brainswarming sessions.