Why Brainstormin Doesn't Work and What to Do Instead

According to some psychological research, the idea of brainstorming may not always work. Research tells us that those who work in groups may have a tendency to be lazy and are actually more likely to forget their own ideas while others are talking about theirs.

It seems we spend more time worrying about what others might think, than generating our own ideas.

  • Brainstorming was always thought to be the perfect solution for coming up with new and fresh ideas and is frequently used in business and for all kinds of things that require idea generation.
  • Creative thinkers of all kinds use brainstorming to solve problems and to help make decisions, but it turns out that it may not be the best way.
  • Experiment after experiment has shown that those who take place in brainstorming sessions actually produced fewer ideas and ideas that may be lower in quality than their solitary counterparts.

According to researchers there are many reasons for this from:

  • Social loafing and slacking off.
  • Evaluation apprehension or people scrutinizing your input.
  • Tendency to forget your own ideas while others talk, also known as production blocking.

If you think about this, it makes sense. As others prattle on and on talking about their ideas, you may have the tendency to forget your own creative ideas.

You may also be too embarrassed to speak up, for fear of other people judging you or thinking your idea is stupid. Group sessions and get-togethers also inadvertently encourage socializing, which may cause people to slack off or get off track.

Brainstorming With a Tweak.

It turns out there may just be a better way to brainstorm than you might be used to and it involves using a tool like brainstorming to evaluate those ideas, rather than using it to create them.

In other words, if you need to generate new ideas or look at something differently, you are better off sending people away to create their own ideas, and then coming back together as a group to evaluate them.

Groups, it turns out, function much better at evaluating ideas than they do in the actual creation of those ideas


Coming Up With Creative Solutions.

When coming up with creative solutions there are many ways to go about it:

  1. Change your environment.
  2. Take a walk.
  3. Play the "what if game".
  4. Try and look at the problem from a different perspective.
  5. Work backward by looking at the desired solution first.
  6. Do a little daydreaming.
  7. Practice deep breathing.
  8. Meditate to clear your mind.
  9. Change your routine.
  10. Go online and see what others in the industry are doing.

All of these activities can be done in a solitary fashion and they are great ways to generate ideas.

The next time you need a creative strategy and are thinking of using a brainstorming session, try brainstorming with a twist and sending people away for 30 minutes or so in order to generate their own creative ideas and solutions - this increases creativity of the group.

Once people have had a chance to come up with their own creative ideas, you can then come back together as a group and use brainstorming to critique and review the ideas.

You might be surprised at how well this works because it essentially frees people from the judgment of others.

Try this free guided meditation let go of your inhibitions and present your ideas with ease.

So the old adage that two heads are better than one may not actually be true as you can see. While brainstorming still has a time and a place, there are different ways to utilize it. Just something to keep in mind the next time you feel stuck and in need of new ideas.