At some point of your work life, you will find yourself seated in a meeting room with a team of people brainstorming for new ideas. While this is especially apparent in the creative industry – mostly those with media jobs – brainstorming sessions are the go-to method for finding new ideas in all sectors of work.
But studies have shown that brainstorming may not necessarily increase a team’s creative output. On the contrary, some of the most commonly used techniques have a negative impact on creative thinking. In 1958, five years after the concept of brainstorming was introduced, a group of Yale researchers found that idea generation works better when a person is alone than in a group.
Sharing ideas one at a time is very inefficient for everyone present during a brainstorming session. In addition, extroverts tend to dominate the conversation, hampering the process of idea generation even more.
So what should you be doing instead?
Tony McCaffrey, Chief Technology Officer of Innovation Accelerator, has come up with a solution by asking one simple question: Why do we need to talk in the first place?
What is brainswarming?
Brainswarming uses writing instead of talking to generate ideas. According to McCaffrey, brainswarming is more effective than brainstorming because it helps the group work better together. With brainswarming, you can generate up to 115 ideas in 15 minutes – that’s way more than the 100 ideas per hour that brainstorming provides!
How does brainswarming work?
Start by placing the goal you want to achieve on top of the graph, and resources that are available to you at the bottom of the graph. Without talking, have the team add Post-It notes and lines to the graph.
Top down thinkers will start their thought process from the goal, working their way to the resources. Bottom up thinkers will make use of the resources by adding more and analysing how they can be used. Eventually, ideas and points from the two directions will connect, thereby creating many solutions to the problem.
The next time you need to generate ideas, try brainswarming instead.
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