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Random Thoughts On Business

Brainstorming – Groupthink (If You Must)

By February 20, 2017November 13th, 2021No Comments
groupthink in brainstorming session

Brainstorming is ingrained in the DNA of office culture, long debated as to its effectiveness in problem-solving and ideation.  I have always embraced secluded thinking when tackling complex problems (preferably while walking in the woods); however, there are times that call for groupthink.  To that degree, I wanted to write down some thoughts on how I’ve made these sessions more effective.

  1. Draw it out.  Not everyone is going to grab onto your concept through verbal communication because people learn/understand in different directions.  Sometimes it helps to draw the idea out (for them as much for you).
  2. What if? Thinking like a designer can help to keep things interesting.  What happens if you change up the order of the process?  What if you turn the whole thing on its head?  What if you’re looking at the wrong problem altogether?
  3. Engage everyone. From the youngest person in the room to the most senior should be providing ideas.  Sometimes the quietest voices are the most powerful.
  4. Food must be present. Chomping on snacks helps chomp on ideas.
  5. Ask why? Sometimes having someone in the room who questions like a 5-year-old (why?… why?… why?) can drive you to the root cause of the problem and ultimately the solution.
  6. Belief-based thinking. “Because I like it” is not a basis for making decisions.  What are the core values that you are using to make decisions?  Is this solving the problem or treating the symptoms?
  7. Embrace negativity. It is unnerving when people say there aren’t any bad ideas.  If you were happy all the time you wouldn’t be a person, you would be a game show host.  Diamonds are formed through stress and pressure.  Ideas too can come through challenging each other’s thinking.
  8. Blood turnips. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip so you need to know when to walk away.  If the conversation isn’t going anywhere, stop the conversation.

Hmm…I was going to go for a list of 10 groupthink tips (because top 10 lists seem more credible), but I ran out of ideas.

Maybe I should have brainstormed on this blog post. Ooops…


Richard Kaiser

Some of my fondest memories from my formative years were from Boy Scout camps sitting on rough, wooden logs that encircled a crackling fire sharing stories with the other boys. I believe in my heart that it is a human need to be told stories. We crave stories much in the same way we crave love. The work we do at Wilderness Agency is based upon this primal need. We bring together some of the best creative talent from around the world to tell our client’s stories, to share their passion with the world.