Clear sky with a chance of brainstorms

Let’s face it, we all do it, some more than others, some won’t stop talking about it, some can’t get enough of it, some are ashamed to admit being addicted to it, some do it publicly, some like to pump it up a little, some are professionals, some only dare try it secretly and there are some who have not been corrupted by this mass organized chaos YET.


As you might have guessed from the intro, this week we’re going to debate the delicate case of one of the key drivers of contemporary society, which is… BRAINSTORMING. What? Did you think this post is going to be about something more “delicate”?

Anyway, the thing is, at one point or another we’ve all been “forced” to think out of the box and innovate through brainstorming. Yes, I said forced! The way you do this is grab a piece of paper sit together with a group of people and splash ALL your IDEAS onto the canvas because everybody out here seems to swear by this technique. But does this tool liberate the flow of creative juices or does it lead to the production of cheap soda in fancy packaging?

Think about it, have you ever settled for something OK during a brainstorming session, instead of speaking up, because the majority of the group thought that was the right direction?


The latest research shows that YES YOU DID! Apparently we have been completely wrong about thinking big while combining ideas without constraints. It seems like that without criticism and a certain degree of judgement we are unable to improve and accomplish ideas. Brainstorming limits rather than enhances creativity. Charles Browder argues that “The good ideas are all hammered out in agony by individuals, not spewed out by groups” Isaac Asimov, the famous science fiction author, said: “The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display. My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. “


So what are we supposed to do now, that our ultimate idea generation tool’s effectiveness has been debunked for good? Ever wondered how big companies like Google innovate?

Here’s how Whale Agency thinks you should generate ideas:

Step 1: Gather your colleagues, especially the lazybones!

Step2: Brief them about the problem.

Step 3: Let everybody spread out to generate ideas for 15 minutes. Focus on quality not quantity!

Step 4: Self edit for 2 minutes and pick the top 3 ideas from your list.

Step 5: Share your best ideas! Forget about pitching, just show what you’ve got. Write the ideas on a whiteboard.

Step 6: Give people 5 minutes to vote for their preference.

Step 7: Gather the results, in case of a tie, repeat the vote until you have only one idea.

The moral of the story is that you should forget about getting soaked with me-too ideas in a brainstorm and go take a shower of fresh ideas in solitude or with someone who rubs your back with constructive criticism.


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