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Duma Collective / News Room  / HOW EFFECTIVE IS GROUP BRAINSTORMING?

HOW EFFECTIVE IS GROUP BRAINSTORMING?

Alex Faickney Osborn was an advertising executive and the author of the creativity technique named brainstorming. He developed the original approach to brainstorming and published it in his 1953 book ‘Applied Imagination’. He wrote several books during the 1940s and 1950s, each taking a problem that had vexed him in his capacity as Head of BBDO: his employees were not creative enough. They had good ideas, he believed, but were oath to share them for fear of their colleagues’ judgment.

For Osborn, the solution was not to have his employees work alone, but rather to remove the threat of criticism from group work. He invented the concept of brainstorming, a process in which group members generate ideas in a non-judgmental atmosphere. Brainstorming had four rules:

  1. Don’t judge or criticize ideas
  2. Be freewheeling, the wilder the idea the better.
  3. Go for quantity, the more ideas you have the better.
  4. Build on ideas of fellow group members.

Osborn’s theory had great impact, leading companies to take up brainstorming with enthusiasm. To this day, its common for anyone who works in modern day corporate environments will have found themselves occasionally cooped up in a room with their colleagues surrounded by whiteboards, markers and a preppy faciliatory encouraging them to share ideas.

INDIVIDUAL VERSUS GROUP BRAINSTORMING

There only one problem with Osborn’s breakthrough idea: group brainstorming doesn’t work. And while group brainstorming is often effective at generating ideas than normal group problem solving, several studies have shown that individual brainstorming produces more and often better ideas than group brainstorming.

This can be due to that groups aren’t always strict in following the rules of brainstorming and bad behaviors can creep in.

When you are brainstorming on your own, you don’t have to worry about other people’s opinions and egos, you can be free and more creative. However, you may not develop ideas as fully when you’re on your own because you don’t have the wider experience of other group members to draw on.

Individual brainstorming is most effective when you need to solve simple problem, generate a list of ideas or focus on a broad issue. Group brainstorming is often more effective for solving complex problems.

ONLINE BRAINSTORMING: ITS ACTUALLY A THING

The one exception to looking into more effective group participation methods is online brainstorming. Group brainstorming electronically, which when managed properly, can not only do better than individual brainstorming, research shows that the larger the group the better it performs.

The same is true of academic research, professors who work together electronically, from different locations, tend to produce research that is more influential than those either working alone or collaborating face-to-face.

This can be due to that groups aren’t always strict in following the rules of brainstorming and bad behaviors can creep in.

When you are brainstorming on your own, you don’t have to worry about other people’s opinions and egos, you can be free and more creative. However, you may not develop ideas as fully when you’re on your own because you don’t have the wider experience of other group members to draw on.

Individual brainstorming is most effective when you need to solve simple problem, generate a list of ideas or focus on a broad issue. Group brainstorming is often more effective for solving complex problems.

PRO TIP:

TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR INDIVIDUAL BRAINSTORMING SESSION, CHOOSE A COMFORTABLE PLACE TO SIT AND THINK.

MINAMIZE DISTRACTIONS TO FOCUS BETTER AND CONSIDER USING MIND MAPS TO ARRANGE AND DEVELOP IDEAS.

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