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Brainstorming vs Brainwriting February 12, 2009

Posted by Lee Cherry in 1.
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Recently BNET1 laid out the case against brainstorming and plenty of readers chimed in to complain about how ineffective the technique is for generating quality new ideas (and a couple also leaped to its defense). Those who aren’t fans get some support today on the British Psychological Society’s blog, which reports, “research shows that people actually come up with more ideas working on their own than they do brainstorming together.” But if brainstorming is ineffective, what actually works? How about Brain


Briefly, it involves four group members writing ideas on slips of paper in silence. Group members pass the slips of paper between each other, reading others’ ideas and inserting their own. Ink color indicates who owns which ideas and when a paper slip has four ideas on it, it is placed in the center of the table for all to see. This is repeated up to 25 times. The second stage involves group members withdrawing to the corners of the room and recalling as many of the ideas generated so far as possible – the rationale being that this encourages attention to the ideas generated. The final stage involves group members working alone for 15 minutes in an attempt to generate yet more ideas.

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(Image of human brain by Gaetan Lee, CC 2.0)