Brainstorms Had Their Moment?


aybe I’m biased, as I really, really dislike brainstorming sessions and just about everything about the process, but I’m so enjoying the fact that two major outlets recently published stories citing different studies purporting to show that brainstorming rarely works, especially when performed in the typical way.

On The Washington Post’s Post Leadership blog, author and former BusinessWeek management editor Jena McGregor, in a post titled “Why brainstorming doesn’t work” writes:






She goes on to describe a recent study by Nicholas Kohn and Steven Smith, two researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington and Texas A&M University, which showed that, when asked to come up with ideas, individual subjects outperformed groups both in the number and range of their ideas.

Then last week, The New Yorker published a story entitled “Groupthink”, by Jonah Lehrer who writes:





It’s not that I don’t believe the exchange of ideas between people of the same or different disciplines is an important way to solve problems. But I’ve wasted way too much time sitting around a conference table with colleagues of varying skills and experience, who are expected to come up with solutions to a problem they don’t understand, not to feel somewhat justified right now.

By Gavin Strumpman

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