Today I tried an experiment in brainstorming project ideas that I called "the goal matrix." I had a general topic, high-level goals (or things we might want), and a bunch of previous work my manager and I had done within those. I wrote down the high-level goals and brainstormed possible actions. The idea was to think of these as forming a matrix (a table), with an X at a row-column intersection if the action supports the goal.
I never drew the table. Once I had the list of goals, the table seemed like a terrible way to brainstorm.
I ended up coming up with ideas another way. Writing down the list of goals, though, helped a little. It also helped to write down the things we'd done previously in this area. I'd do those again if not the 'goal matrix.'