I finally gave in and admitted it: Brainstorming sucks.
This was difficult for me, because I've been in brainstorming sessions that worked virtual miracles, the surfaced ideas that astounded us with their clarity and brilliance.
But let me be realistic: For every great brainstorming session I've experienced, I've been in several that were soul-sucking, time-wasting monstrosities that killed ideas, sapped enthusiasm, and left us worse off than we were without the brainstorming.
Because brainstorming sucks. Here are some ideas from the Design School blog to do it better, at 4 Reasons You Can’t Brainstorm Creative Ideas – And What You Should Do Instead:
- Take baby steps. Small ideas that can add up to big ideas are a lot more realistic to achieve.
- Use analogies. Attack the problem by thinking in analogies about what you're working on,
- Allow people time. Instead of one big, high-pressure meeting where you must produce great ideas, have a series of smaller, less-important meetings. With time doing other stuff in between.
- Brainwrite instead of Brainstorm.
The great brainstorming sessions I've been in have been populated with experienced idea-makers who like to play. Absent inexperienced thinkers, early-concluders, and clock-watchers who don't enjoy the crazy give-and-take of true brainstorming.