Everyone presumes the best brainstorming is group brainstorming – but is it?
The Wall Street Journal has an article about the pros and cons of brainstorming.
John Clark, a former university dean of engineering, says brainstorming sessions come in handy to distribute blame in the event of failure. But in his experience, most often someone hijacks the topic at hand, tries to prove everyone else wrong, works to impress the superiors who are present, or just plain blathers for his own enjoyment. “I can’t remember a single instance where a group produced a really creative idea,” he says.
Paul B. Paulus, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington conducted research on the topic and has found that group brainstormers typically perform at about half the level they would if they brainstormed alone. The prescription: ask people to brainstorm alone after the group brainstorming session.