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.