The Agile Tribe

Is Brainstorming the be all and end of all New Ideas?

on May 23, 2010

Author: Robert McDonald

In my experience, there are times when powerful members of a group can lead the discussion and it can promote conformist thinking amongst the rest. The mindset changes from, “what can I bring in the way of ideas” to “how can I best influence or work with what has been proposed”. Don’t get me wrong, I think that brainstorming is very valuable and is here to stay, but there seems to be two important steps which will help it achieve its results.

Brainstorming is not in itself the answer to everything, and taking the top 5 ideas which people vote on can mean less well communicated ideas with merit may be sidelined or ignored. Also if the brainstorming group can be made aware of this issue and work away from conformity and dominating themes to encompass as many ideas as they can.

Recent research seems to indicate this:
http://behavioralhealthcentral.com/index.php/20100330218207/Clinical-News/brainstorming-and-creativity-do-not-go-hand-in-hand.html

They also indicate that if the group feels they have fixated on a certain solution or idea then taking a break can improve the results from the session. This is an excellent idea which I think has real value.

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