Friday, June 22, 2007

Is Brainstorming Effective?

In his book 'The Medici Effect' Frans Johansson has some interesting figures on studies on Brainstorming.

An experiment to compare real teams and virtual teams, of equal numbers, and the output of a Brainstorming session.

Take 20 people locate them in a room and give them a topic to storm - real team
Take 20 people have them work independently on the same topic - virtual team

Take the output of the virtual team and remove the duplicate ideas. The sum of the virtual teams unique ideas are roughly twice the output of the real teams ideas.

The answer is the way we do Brainstorming. Only one person is talking at a time and this creates a bottle neck. Also the key to Brainstorming is to not assess and critique an idea there and then.

Keep the teams small and this mitigates the throttling of capturing the ideas by having a single scribe. The other approach is use the post-it note approach where any member can write the idea and post it on the board.

There is another technique called Brainwriting. This is a silent Brainstorm in a real team where the members take the core theme and write one idea. Pass the sheet of paper to the centre of the table and take another piece of paper (with an idea from another team member) and expand the idea already there.

This can be more effective as it sets the spark of creativity from an idea that you might not have had in isolation and lets you focus your attention on that new idea.

1 comment:

joji said...

thanks david for this information. i will do check it out.... hope you are doing well. great blog format by the way. joji