Why I banned brain­storm­ing

Finweek English Edition - - INSIDE -

Brain­storm­ing is the old­est and most widely used cre­ativ­ity tech­nique in busi­ness today. So if ev­ery­one uses it then it must work, right?

Wrong! Brain­storm­ing might work rea­son­ably well for gen­er­at­ing medi­ocre ideas with in­cre­men­tal im­pact, but it is com­pletely use­less for com­ing up with truly in­no­va­tive breakthrough ideas. I’ve banned brain­storm­ing in my busi­ness – here is the rea­son why.

IT’S A NUM­BERS GAME, OR IS IT? “Come up with as many ideas as you can. Fo­cus on quan­tity, not qual­ity!” This is the f irst fun­da­men­tal rule of brain­storm­ing and on the sur­face it seems to make sense. No­bel prizewin­ning sci­en­tist Li­nus Paul­ing said: “The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas, and throw the bad ones away.” A bit like pick­ing straw­ber­ries – the way to go home with a good bas­ket is to pick lots of straw­ber­ries and then just throw away the rot­ten ones.

Paul­ing also said: “When an old a nd dist i nguished per­son s peaks to you, l is­ten to him care­fully and with re­spect – but do not be­lieve him . . . Your elder, no mat­ter whether he is a No­bel lau­re­ate, may be wrong.” I’m afraid in this case, he is. Ideas are

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