Why Brainstorms Fail — and How to Make Sure Yours Doesn’t

Why Brainstorms Fail — and How to Make Sure Yours Doesn’t

“So, give me your best ideas.”

The room goes silent, pencils are fiddled with, eye contact is avoided — and the whiteboard remains blank. Or, a few dominant voices overwhelm the team and push half-baked solutions prematurely. So goes another unproductive brainstorming session.

The method of brainstorming was introduced by Alex Osborn, the “O” in the iconic ad agency B.B.D.O., in his 1948 book, “Your Creative Power”. He defined it as “a creative conference for producing a list of ideas – ideas which can be subsequently evaluated and further processed.”

Over the years, brainstorming has become a go-to-technique for idea generation. Steve Jobs was a big proponent of small brainstorming sessions that generated many of the cutting-edge advances attributed to Apple. Ken Segall, author of Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success and long-time collaborator with Steve Jobs describes Jobs’ strict enforcement of small meetings:

“When... keep reading

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