How Best To Generate Quality Ideas?

Brainstorming is a common way of generating ideas and is often viewed as a de-facto standard so it’s important to check to see if other approaches or variations might sometimes be ‘better’. Better can mean the quantity or quality of ideas for example.

There’s a discussion of a new ‘hybrid’ approach based on some recent research work at INSEAD/Wharton on Blogging Innovation:

Experiment format: Subjects conducted idea generation exercises as follows.

  • Team structure: 30 minutes together in a room to generate ideas together. Then 5 minutes of assessing and selecting the best 5 ideas.
  • Hybrid structure: 10 minutes of generating ideas on their own. Then 20 minutes of discussing these and new ideas. Finally, 5 minutes of assessing and selecting the best 5 ideas.

The thought-provoking consequences include (taken from the original research report):

“This has significant managerial implications: if the interactive build-up [of team brainstorming] is not leading to better ideas, an organization might be better off relying on asynchronous idea generation by individuals using, for example, web-based idea management systems.”

This would be quite an easy exercise to carry out in most organisations. I think it would be apparent fairly quickly if the hybrid approach was sometimes preferable. Just doing things slightly differently is often useful and revealing in it’s own right!

Picture credit: Research Report.

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One Response to How Best To Generate Quality Ideas?

  1. […] In a business setting, a project room or project retrospective workshop comes to mind. Anyone tried different combinations and what were the results? This links in a bit to a previous post on generating quality ideas. […]

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