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  • Writer's pictureKaylie Dugan

The Five Fatal Flaws of Old Fashioned Brainstorming

Old Fashioned Brainstorming

Brainstorming, as usually practiced in organizations, consists of getting a group of people together in a room for 30-45 minutes and asking people to shout out new ideas on the topic at hand. Research shows 90% of attendees think this process can be improved. The question is how? That’s exactly why I invented Better Ideaz™.

I began by looking at how ideation is currently structured. In doing so, I found five fatal flaws that hamper people in being at their creative best.

Not Enough Freedom

Organizations, by nature, like control. They like detailed agendas, trusted processes, and for-certain deliverables. This stifles ideas from the very beginning. Ideas – and people generating ideas – need freedom and space, fun and surprise, no judgment, and room to fail. This means organizations may be uncomfortable with ideation at the same time they realize innovation is critical to their future.

Not Enough Brain Stimuli

The experts who participate in old-fashioned brainstorming sessions work at a disadvantage. Their experience produces well-worn brain synapses that make thinking outside the norm particularly difficult. There’s a way out, however. Better Ideaz uses a wide variety of creativity tools that stimulate the brain to make unusual connections. This stimulation delights the brain and naturally produces wonderful ideas.

Not Enough Diversity

When sessions are populated by members of a team, there is automatically a lack of diversity because they tend to think as a unit. The problem is exacerbated because organizations tend to welcome only particular skills and talents when employees have so much more to contribute. The invitee list should not be made up of clones, but rather of people who complement each other.

Not Enough Time

Time is a precious commodity within organizations, and most employees already have too many tasks on their plates. Ideation is often squeezed into busy schedules with 45-60 minutes put aside. The issue, however, is that's when the most close-in ideas are likely to surface. I suggest sessions should be about four hours long, starting at the beginning of the day before the world has a chance to dull creativity. This small time investment is well worth the future you are creating.

Not Enough Follow Through

All too often participants leave a brainstorming session with lots of good ideas written on easel pads but nothing else happens to their brilliant output. Why? Because there are no champions for the really good ideas and people are too busy with their current workload to take the steps necessary to winnow the list and bring the ideas into reality. No wonder folks get frustrated with the process. It’s essential to conduct immediate follow through to select winners, write and test pre-concepts and budget needed resources for implementation.


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