Creativity Techniques – Brainstorming – Group vs. Individual!

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What is Brainstorming?

It is one of the techniques that organizations use to generate fresh or “creative” ideas.

A brainstorming session generally consists of the following activities on part of the organizers:

  • Manage to get people together in a room, if possible, of their free will.
  • Prepare problem statement and the required props.
  • Record the minutes of the meeting in an objective manner.
  • Enable idea generation by helping the group establish a chain of thoughts.
  • Focus on “generating ideas” and not on “evaluating ideas.”
  • Moderate in order to motivate everyone to generate and share ideas.

How Effective is the Brainstorming Technique?

My personal experience with brainstorming in groups has produced mixed results. I have observed that the following factors adversely impact the output of brainstorming.

  • Attempts of one or more individuals to establish that their ideas are more important and useful
  • General distraction-causing events (participants being called out by their supervisors, incoming phone calls, texting, and so on.)
  • Many participants with worthy ideas feel daunted by other more aggressive and extroverted individuals.
  • Participants take turns to speak. This leads to blocking of new ideas for other participants.

I believe that we could possibly eliminate the above issues, if the groups were selected with care, and if the group members knew one-another previously, brainstorming could generate excellent results.

Do Group Brainstorming Sessions access everyone’s ideas equally?

But then there are certain personality-traits that can impact an individual’s contribution in such group brainstorming session, which are often difficult to circumvent. For instance, everyone doesn’t go into idea-generation mode the moment he or she is placed among 10 individuals seated around a table!

Such individuals could be given an opportunity to brainstorm alone (beforehand), in an environment that he or she is comfortable in, and bring the results of such brainstorming to the table – or their ideas should be collected separately and included in the Idea Evaluation phase.


Can Brainstorming happen only in groups?

Read about Group Brainstorming.