A Better Way to Brainstorm in Groups

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Brainstorming has gotten a bad rap for leading to uncreative and even unhealthy consensus. But getting together to try out ideas and come up with new ones can promote collaboration and creativity, if done right.

Here’s how:

  • Assemble a diverse team. Bring together people from different disciplines, cultures, and age groups. Be sure that some members have necessary and relevant expertise, but that some are naïve about the issue at hand.
  • Be clear about who decides. If everyone in the room has to agree, you’ll gravitate toward the lowest common denominator. Name the person who is ultimately responsible and establish that everyone else is there to offer up ideas and build on others.
  • Let ideas live. At the end of the session, don’t kill the ideas that didn’t make it. Sometimes these lingering suggestions will make it into final concepts. Allow people to pick one and develop it further.

Adapted from “Yes, You Can Brainstorm Without Groupthink” by Vijay Govindarajan and Jay Terwilliger.


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