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Innovation is about arguing, not brainstorming.

“the idea behind brainstorming is right. To innovate, we need environments that support imaginative thinking, where we can go through many crazy, tangential, and even bad ideas to come up with good ones. We need to work both collaboratively and individually. We also need a healthy amount of heated discussion, even arguing. We need places where someone can throw out a thought, have it critiqued, and not feel so judged that they become defensive and shut down. Yet this creative process is not necessarily supported by the traditional tenets of brainstorming: group collaboration, all ideas held equal, nothing judged.

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: