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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Is Group Brainstorming Hurting Creativity?

Marc Andressen writes about research that shows that group brainstorming produces fewer and lower quality solutions that "virtual" brainstorming where indviduals generate ideas independently, then put their results together.

One way to look at this is that brainstorming sessions with everyone in the same room trying to "be creative" at the same time might not be the most effective approach.

Applied to software development, the implication is that limiting creativity to "groupthink" can have a negative impact on the outcome. Teams may be more creative through harnessing individual expression.

In my own experience, I find that a healthy dose of conflict (with appropriate respect for others), leads to better solutions than friction-less agreement and watered down consensus.

Put differently, if everyone agrees that your idea is the clear way to go, you might have a problem.

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1 Comments:

  • When people are afraid to share ideas in a group, perhaps the group hasn't come up with the right goals. At BrainReactions, our motto is Quantity leads to Quality. When the goal is to share as many ideas as possible, no one is worried on whether their idea is the best, and variety becomes the goal. Analysis happens after, not during a brainstorm, and usually many gems appear out of the rubble. Check out my blog for more brainstorm tips.

    If you do like brainstorming online, check out http://www.brainreactions.net. It's an online social network for brainstorming.

    By Blogger Julia Styles, at 4:57 PM  

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