Brainstorming Doesn't Work

For a business in the creative industries, brainstorming is a compelling proposition.

Lots of ideas produced.

Very little time required.

It sounds like the Holy Grail.

This might explain why we've facilitated and participated in a lot of brainstorm sessions over the years.

But hand on heart, I'm not sure how many truly great ideas its delivered.

Quantity, yes. But quality, I'm not so sure.

So we were intrigued by this video from the Harvard Business Review claiming it doesn't work.

And the HBR are proposing the idea of Brainswarming as an alternative.

Getting everyone in a room to generate and develop ideas is undoubtedly a good thing, so I'm sure we'll try Brainswarming at some point.

But in my mind, brainstorming's greatest crime is the false allure of its promise.

The truth is there is no magic process.

Most of the time the creative process isn't smooth and isn't easily planned.

Sometimes it requires a flash of inspiration in the bath.

Sometimes it needs a heated debate to unlock a tension in the brief.

Sometimes someone needs to go into a darkened room for a few days.

You need to explore some dead ends.

Brainstorming is one tool, to be used alongside others, as necessary.

But to deliver great ideas, everyone needs to be comfortable in not knowing how the problem will be solved at the outset.

– RG