Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brainstorming and Facilitators

Many people who chair or facilitate group meetings ask the group to collectively "brainstorm" as a way to generate new ideas or proposals as a first step to move toward resolution of the issues at hand. An article from the July 2010 issue of Newsweek, based on data and research, debunks the value of that approach.

As a facilitator who tries to avoid "group think" this article confirms my bias. According to the article:

    Brainstorming in a group became popular in 1953 with the publication of a business book, Applied Imagination. But it’s been proven not to work since 1958, when Yale researchers found that the technique actually reduced a team’s creative output: the same numbers of people generate more and better ideas separately than together. (Emphasis added)

The article has several useful suggestions about how to generate ideas, and I commend it to your attention.

My thanks to a friend and colleague, Maile Beers-Arthur for circulating this article.

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