Brainstorming is overrated and needs reengineering - Deepstash
Brainstorming is overrated and needs reengineering

Brainstorming is overrated and needs reengineering

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Brainstorming overused

Brainstorming overused

We tell people to think outside the box, yet we don’t function like that in our everyday life.

Brainstorming is an overused technique that generates confined and limited solutions, but we can’t get enough of it. Organizations hold on to old business best practices that have since ceased to be effective without thinking of ways to recreate them.


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Brainstorming has four major components.

  1. Focus on quantity, not quality (Generate as many ideas as possible no matter how wild and out of the world they may seem)
  2. Prioritise original and uncommon ideas
  3. Defer Judgement and avoid criticism
  4. Combine and fine-tune generated ideas


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How we go about it is wrong

Alex Osborn claimed that brainstorming should enhance creative performance by almost 50% versus individuals working on their own. More than six decades after, research has shown that brainstorming hinders the creative performance of individuals in a group.


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Why do organizations engage in brainstorming activities?

  • The assumption is that brainstorming is the best way to generate creative ideas as a group and the idea that we are stronger as a group than we are if we are alone.
  • Brainstorming is synonymous with the creative idea-generating process.
  • A method for organizations to use employees‟ creativity as a way of improving productivity


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Cliché  don't work

Cliché don't work

Think outside the box, don’t limit yourself, go as wild as you can, every idea is welcome. Common chants by managers encourage people to think creatively and come up with creative ideas. But it does not work. Most people cannot function at their peak without some form of structure and tangibility.


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Without direction, most people are uncertain

Without direction, most people are uncertain if their line of thinking is in alignment with the overall ambiguous goal or do they chart a new course altogether. The ambiguity of the task will make them shut down.


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Have we been brainstorming all wrong?

Have we been brainstorming all wrong?

Organizations need to redesign how they organise and conduct brainstorming sessions to get the desired results.


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Remodel your brainstorming sessions.

Re-engineer the Process:

  • Imagine a room of 20 people with a very intimidating leader. His presence in the brainstorming session would limit the free flow of ideas or make people reluctant to share what they might presume to be a silly idea. Or a brainstorming process moderator who just showed up to a brainstorming session with no form of preparation or understanding of the business goals.
  • We can adjust the process to increase the chance of success. Define what ideas are acceptable, and structure your questions in that fashion.


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Make sure everyone is involved

Put all the opinionated people (Those who like to control the direction of a meeting) in one group. If you have a brainstorming session with a group of 16 people, and 4 of those people like to dominate conversations, but them in one group, and have three other groups.

Provide some incentive for active participation. The goal is to get 100% of the participants to work at 100% of their capacity 100% of the session.


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Have multiple brainstorming sessions

Do not rely on just one brainstorming session.

A brainstorming session must end on a good note, with all participants knowing that the result of their efforts will lead to action. Prioritise the ideas at the session, don’t leave it for another day. If you don’t get to the action immediately, you might end up not doing anything about it.

Once you have sorted the ideas, have another brainstorming session to harness the ideas.


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Business Strategist, Investing in Africa, Tech Evangelist.


Wrote this article more than a year ago, but then repurposed it to Medium yesterday. I am proud of my writing journey. This is a really good article. 🤣😂😂😂. Read and comment

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