Brainstorming holds the promise of generating exceptional ideas and creative insights from the power of group interaction. Certainly, many of us who work in creative fields have experienced the fun and excitement of seeing difficult problems yield to the flow of inspiration in a no-idea-is-a-bad-idea environment — often fueled by an ample supply of jelly beans, cookies or other sweets. New ideas take shape. The status quo can morph into something remarkable and compelling.
However, there may be an even better approach to creative problem solving. So says principal designer David Sherwin of global innovation firm Frog Design in an article titled The Creativity Killer: Group Discussions in The Atlantic.
He proposes a new way of generating ideas that replaces the free-flowing capture of ideas by a facilitator at a whiteboard with an opportunity for each participant to spend five minutes generating ideas on his or her own before sharing them with the group.
Sherwin asks how that change in a team’s brainstorming method would impact the interaction among participants. He sees this divergence-before-group-convergence as a way to surface every participant’s point of view and benefit from the diversity of thought in a group that truly promotes breakthroughs.
What do you think of “brainstorming with yourself” before coming together with your team to surface ideas? Is it an idea that your group might implement?