Don’t Call it Brainstorming

You’ve been there.

Locked in a room with a dozen other people, saying anything that comes to mind, in response to a loosely defined focus, with the hope that something might just prove useful.

You’ve felt it.

There’s 100 ideas on the wall, and you should be excited. But instead, you're "paralyzed by possibility."

In my experience, this is the direct result of relying on traditional brainstorming approaches, which, by the way, have been around since the 1930s, when ad-man Alex Faickney Osborn first popularized them in his book, Applied Imagination

Osborn proposed that groups could double their creative output with brainstorming, but he placed little emphasis on how to focus creative thinking and refine the quality of the output. 

On its face, doubling your creative output sounds reasonable. But, the problem is that traditional brainstorming has ignored the huge difference between generating lots of ideas and capturing quality ideas. As a result, brainstorming sessions often leave organizations and teams feeling overwhelmed and directionless.

Simply put, if your ideas are going to have any disruptive impact, you need to move beyond a shotgun approach to brainstorming and start pursuing creative effort with a laser-sharp focus.