Brainstorming doesn’t always work for generating worthwhile ideas. But why? Over at Medium, Mikael Cho unveils the science behind the myth of brainstorming, and what you can do to ensure your next brainstorming session actually works for generating ideas:
Many brainstorming sessions are thought of as an end goal — that an answer needs be drawn at its conclusion for it to have ‘worked.’ If the perfect idea doesn’t show itself by the end of the meeting, the brainstorming session is usually deemed a failure.
This is in spite of research that show the optimal process for creativity is not within a single group setting…
Sometimes the incubation stage itself can take days or weeks before you get a feeling that a good idea is on the way. Many of the most creative people in the world validate this, reporting they only arrive at the best solutions after a constant zig zag through alternatives.
Start with alone time… follow with a group session.
To make brainstorming sessions more effective, it’s vital that we give ourselves time away from the problem and work around it in order to allow for natural, creative incubation to occur.
Hoping that getting people together in a room to shoot ideas back and forth without having first thought deeply about the task at hand is just one problem with brainstorming, but it’s undoubtedly the biggest one. By first allowing yourself and participants to ruminate on problems before a group discussion, you’re allowing concepts to evolve that would otherwise be squashed in a group setting (where the pressure of peers or time hinder creativity).