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Brainstorming: Creating Ideas vs. Falling Into ‘Groupthink’

Brainstorming, as an idea generation tactic, has gotten a lot of flak over the years for resulting in groupthinka phenomenon that occurs when a group of people’s desire for harmony, conformity and an avoidance of conflict results in them not challenging each other’s ideas. Yes, it’s important for ideas to be evaluated from different perspective, but is group work ideation really doomed, though?

Think about it, as opposed to working alone, using your teammates as soundboards adds the extra, missing dimension of exposing your idea to the perspective of another. Much like immersing a bike tire in water to check for a puncture, your teammates become the water you immerse your idea in to find its weak spots.

So, how do you avoid ‘groupthink’? According to Harvard Business Review’s article, it’s all about setting a creative environment for the right group of people:

  • Assemble a diverse team

Assemble a team of thinkers from different backgrounds to make your dialogue as rich as possible. This means balancing experience and knowledge while adding a ‘wildcard’ that could just become the impetus of potentially great ideas.

  • Create role-players with clear responsibilities

Make sure each individual has a personal stake in the project. This is the driving force of any idea generation session. Allocate clear responsibility to team members and then help each other perform these tasks. It works wonders when individuals are selected as a ‘coordinator’ or a ‘facilitator’, who encourages interaction and manages the process without discouraging the generation of ideas.

Taking accredited courses on how to manage teamwork and project driven work can further streamline this facilitator’s efforts.

  • Let ideas feed off each other

The fallacy of ‘groupthink’ lies in its inability to flesh out ideas by not wanting to step on anyone’s toes. Getting your team to trust each other enough to help build on each other’s ideas is how breakthrough projects are created!

Image source

Brainstorming, as an idea generation tactic, has gotten a lot of flak over the years for resulting in groupthinka phenomenon that occurs when a group of people’s desire for harmony, conformity and an avoidance of conflict results in them not challenging each other’s ideas. Yes, it’s important for ideas to be evaluated from different perspective, but is group work ideation really doomed, though?

Think about it, as opposed to working alone, using your teammates as soundboards adds the extra, missing dimension of exposing your idea to the perspective of another. Much like immersing a bike tire in water to check for a puncture, your teammates become the water you immerse your idea in to find its weak spots.

So, how do you avoid ‘groupthink’? According to Harvard Business Review’s article, it’s all about setting a creative environment for the right group of people:

  • Assemble a diverse team

Assemble a team of thinkers from different backgrounds to make your dialogue as rich as possible. This means balancing experience and knowledge while adding a ‘wildcard’ that could just become the impetus of potentially great ideas.

  • Create role-players with clear responsibilities

Make sure each individual has a personal stake in the project. This is the driving force of any idea generation session. Allocate clear responsibility to team members and then help each other perform these tasks. It works wonders when individuals are selected as a ‘coordinator’ or a ‘facilitator’, who encourages interaction and manages the process without discouraging the generation of ideas.

Taking accredited courses on how to manage teamwork and project driven work can further streamline this facilitator’s efforts.

  • Let ideas feed off each other

The fallacy of ‘groupthink’ lies in its inability to flesh out ideas by not wanting to step on anyone’s toes. Getting your team to trust each other enough to help build on each other’s ideas is how breakthrough projects are created!

Image source

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