Brainstorming Doesn't Work
As Linus Pauling - one of four people to have won more than one Nobel Prize - said
“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”
But what’s the best way to have a lot of ideas?
It isn’t brainstorming.
Your team’s goal is to solve problems. But if you want to solve a problem in a delightful way, stop using brainstorming. Brainstorming doesn’t work.
Research on brainstorming from Professor Leigh Thompson from the Kellogg School of Management shows that individuals are better at divergent thinking - generating a diverse set of ideas - whereas groups are better at convergent thinking - selecting which ideas are worth pursuing and improving them.
Which means, instead of discussing solutions (aka brainstorming), have each participant write her or his ideas down silently. Then share all the captured ideas in a round-robin fashion and repeat the process.
After that, let the team decide - as a group - what ideas to pursue. Let them - again as a team - combine these ideas to create the most delightful solution for the problem.
Remember, individuals working on their own will generate more diverse ideas than the same number participating in a brainstorming session.