Traditional brainstorming is for idiots

Here’s the problem with traditional brainstorming.

It doesn’t work. It does the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to do. And it rewards the loudest personality in the room. (Or the bipolar account guy on a manic high.)

Okay, that’s technically three problems. More than enough reason to steer clear of an ideation method popularised by American advertising executive Alex Faickney Osborn in the 1940s. (Osborn was the O in BBDO, part of the giant omnivorous Omnicon Group - annual revenue $15 billion and counting.)

Brainstorming had a catchy name. It seemed to make sense. Grab a bunch of people, shove them into a room and have them hurl ideas at each other. Let them build on each other’s thoughts. What could possibly go wrong?

A lot, actually. Keith Sawyer, Washington University Associate Professor, says research consistently shows people is brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than when left to work on their own. 

Paul Paulus, University of Texas at Arlington Psychologist, has spent 15 years studying the quantity and quality of ideas produced in group brainstorming sessions versus those that emerge from solitary or paired thinking. The evidence is overwhelming. Exceptional ideas and revolutionary solutions spring from group discussion of ideas hatched in isolation.

Imagine a new way to harness and inspire great ideas without the pitfalls of face-to-face brainstorming.

A better way for people to work together where amazing ideas thrive? Where the quantity and quality of ideas are maximised? 

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