Do you want a brainstorming session to generate one great idea or several above-average ones?
A new study looked at two different models for generating ideas: (1) assembling a group of people and having them come up with product ideas and (2) asking individuals to work on ideas by themselves before sharing their thinking.
Who came up with better ideas? The first group came up with the best idea—and the worst. The second group generated more ideas that were, on average, of higher quality.
Conclusion? For the best ideas, say the researchers, you need to have a pure brainstorming group.
There’s a catch, though. Traditional brainstorming teams often have difficulty recognizing the best ideas, since members tend to “second” whatever the boss is leaning toward.
Tip: Avoid picking any particular idea; allow the best one to surface.
— Adapted from “Where the Best—and Worst—Ideas Come From,” Josh Hyatt, MIT SloanReview.