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The Problem with Traditional Brainstorming

The Problem with Traditional Brainstorming

Research in behavioral science classifies the benefits of brainstorming in two ways:

  • Synergy: Ideas shared by one person can energize, inspire, and trigger ideas in other people.
  • Social facilitation: Collaborating to reach a common goal can motivate everyone in the group.

These benefits, however, also come with some downsides. A major one is production blocking, a term used to describe a situation when someone has an innovative idea that gets lost in the mix because the larger group is focused on a different topic. 


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How to Run a Great (Virtual) Brainstorming Session

  • Pick a shared collaboration tool that works for your team. Members should be able to sign in virtually.
  • Generate and organize ideas. Give all team members 10 to 15 minutes to add their ideas independently to your collaboration tool. If you are running the brainstorm asynchronously, ask team members to submit their ideas by an assigned deadline.
  •  Evaluate. 10 minutes for an anonymous feedback session in which team members can comment on, rate, or vote for their favorite contribution. This may be done asynchronously as well.
  • Meet to discuss shortlisted ideas


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