Why brainstorming technique does not work?

Kevin Ashton, author of  the book “How to fly a horse” in his blog explained why brainstorming technique, which we consider the best way to come up with new ideas does not work.



Brainstorming technique was invented by an adman Alex Osborn in 1939. For the first time it is mentioned in the book How to Think Up in 1942. James Manktelow, CEO of MindTools – a company that popularizes the technique as “a creative way to solve business problems”, gives a definition of this technique :

[blockquote] Brainstorm is often used to inspire the team to search for original ideas. Our company uses the technique at meetings at which the leader defines the problem to be solved. Meeting participants offer their solutions, and the main rule which everybody follows is not to criticize other people’s words. [/blockquote]

Osborn found the idea of ​​brainstorming successful. As an example, he cited a meeting of the US Treasury, at which the group found in 40-minutes 103 ideas on how to sell bonds. Large corporations have implemented the technique among their subordinates. By the end of the twentieth century it has been used everywhere, and now everybody knows what it is.

Why does the brainstorming technique works?:

  1. A group of people can think up more ideas than one person.
  2. Lack of criticism is more beneficial to the idea than its momentary assessment.

However, not everyone finds brainstorm a panacea for the creation of new ideas:

[blockquote]Work alone. You can create the best product, but if you work alone. Not with assistants. And not in the team.[/blockquote]

Steve Wozniak

Brainstorming technique is based on the fact that the idea is that what’s important. However, ideas are like seeds : there’s a huge number of them, but only some of them grow into something worth. The idea also is rarely original. Ask several independent groups to brainstorm on the same topic. Most likely, you will get a list of similar ideas.

This is because ideas come not from big, but from small steps.

Therefore breynstormy doesn’t work. Finding an idea does not mean to be creative. Creativity involves more than inspiration and creating something. We all have ideas, but only a few are taking steps to implement them in reality.