The myth of the brainstorming session: The best ideas don’t always come from meetings
Over dinner a couple months ago, one of my friends said he needed some help coming up with a name for a new website. He told me a bit about the site and asked if I could help think of something over dinner. He also asked my other friends to join in so we could get a whole bunch of ideas on the table and choose the best one.
Notes that the traditional method of marathon, spontaneous brainstorming sessions leads to various problems that inhibit innovation:
- Employees are afraid of having their ideas judged critically by those in authority.
- Idea generation is often rushed and pressured.
- When in groups or herds people tend to behave cautiously and fear ideas that are risky or unusual.
- Extroverts tend to take over the brainstorming session, stifling the creative ideas of introverts.
Preparation (individual study to focus your mind on the problem and explore its dimensions)
Incubation (the problem enters your unconscious mind and nothing appears to be happening externally)
Intimation (you get a “feeling” that a solution is on the way)
Illumination (your creative idea moves from preconscious processing to conscious awareness)
Verification (your idea is consciously verified, expanded upon, and then executed)
One of the first methods allows the time for ideas to incubate and develop. If you allow a brainstorming session individually before the group session, you allow time for the best ideas to percolate, and you also facilitate creativity for introverts. The group session will be more productive and efficient.
Mikael Cho suggests some other helpful ideas that work for him in his company:
- Do not follow a strict agenda, but allow for productive tangential discussion.
- Avoid setting time limits since this might shut you down in the most productive moments.
- Have the patience to hold off on quick conclusions and decisions, allowing individuals to ponder the ideas in their own space.
- You might consider limited alcoholic beverages as studies show that people become more creative and open with a little beer in them. Too much, however, shuts the brain down.
So team and group brainstorming meetings can work effectively, but you should think about bending the traditional rules, opening the team up to potential that might not be realized with restrictions. Individual thinking is an integral part of the collaborative sessions.
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Source is TheNextWeb.com
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