In defense of (well facilitated) brainstorming

In the previous post on this blog I pointed to an article which amongst other things was critical of brainstorming as an idea generation technique. This article was from the NY Times. It seems groupwork, derided by the moniker groupthink is under fire on other fronts with another article in the New Yorker.  this came to my attention via Bob Sutton, a Professor of Management who wrote a response.“Why the Sharp Distinction Between “Individual” and “Group” Brainstorming is False in Real Teams”.

The Rise of the New Groupthink

We have all heard the phrase “design by commitee” and we all know that it means a compromised process and result. Yet there is no critique of work environments and practices that result in this group think. We think design by commitee happens in meetings attended by bosses. Could it be that it is happening in every open plan office and brainstorming workshop? 

This is the belief of Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. She published “The Rise of the New Groupthink” in the NYTimes.com

Some highlights from the article to encourage your further reading:

Culture eats strategy for lunch

Culture, like brand, is misunderstood and often discounted as a touchy-feely component of business that belongs to HR. It’s not intangible or fluffy, it’s not a vibe or the office décor. It’s one of the most important drivers that has to be set or adjusted to push long-term, sustainable success. It’s not good enough just to have an amazing product and a healthy bank balance. Long-term success is dependent on a culture that is nurtured and alive. Culture is the environment in which your strategy and your brand thrives or dies a slow death. Think about it like a nurturing habitat for success. Culture cannot be manufactured. It has to be genuinely nurtured by everyone from the CEO down. Ignoring the health of your culture is like letting aquarium water get dirty.