5 Reasons Why Brainstorming Sessions Fail

There is much to be said for this on spot quote by Jonah Lehrer: “The fatal misconception behind brainstorming is that there is a particular script we should all follow in group interactions…. [W]hen the composition of the group is right—enough people with different perspectives running into one another in unpredictable ways—the group dynamic will take care of itself. All these errant discussions add up. In fact, they may even be the most essential part of the creative process. Although such conversations will occasionally be unpleasant—not everyone is always in the mood for small talk or criticism—that doesn’t mean that they can be avoided. The most creative spaces are those which hurl us together. It is the human friction that makes the sparks.”

I finally figured out why so many brainstorming sessions fail. It’s the exact same reason why so many marriages fail. The couple shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place.

Many brainstorm sessions that are called never should have happened. And while some kind of meeting may have been appropriate for the invitees to attend, the form of a brainstorm session was the wrong form.

So, before you call your next brainstorming session, pause for a moment and ask yourself what the real purpose of your meeting is. If it’s not the generation and development of new ideas, your meeting is not a brainstorming session, but one of the following.

1. INFORMATION SHARING MEETING

A chance for participants to update each other on projects, download knowledge, share research and other changes impacting their common project. No new ideas are really needed here — just the real-time sharing of information.

2. TOPIC DISCUSSION MEETING

Some meetings need to be nothing more than talking head sessions. These kinds of meetings give people a chance to air out opinions, share questions, and listen to each other. There’s nothing wrong with these kinds of meetings — but they don’t necessarily require brainstorming for them to be effective. […]

Read full article via Innovation Excellence | Why So Many Brainstorming Sessions Fail.

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About

Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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