I originally wrote this article for Innovation Excellence.
I just saw this New Yorker piece about the futility of brainstorming. Over the years, I’ve facilitated well over a hundred sessions ranging from small workgroups to big, executive-laden festivals. Like anything else, it can work, but isn’t the right tool for every situation. It’s also not the way to get the best from certain personality types. Brilliant introverts and hyper-stimulated extroverts will work together about as well as calamari cheesecake.
Too often, I’ve caught people trying to use brainstorming as a substitute/short cut for actual work. Just as Twinkies and Pringles look a lot like food, but aren’t, brainstorming creates a flurry of activity that to the untrained eye, looks a lot like work, but isn’t.
I find brainstorming works best when:
Just got this confidentially from a friend working on this project for the US Post Office… Unreal!
—– Forwarded Message —–
Sent: Wednesday, Jan 15, 2012 4:54 PM
Subject: Proposal: New Post Office Business Model – Go Postal!
Hyper-connected tech blogger Robert Scoble, recently wrote about treating startups more critically. Robert found himself meeting with lots of crappy, over-funded, digital startups that desperately need more time in the oven, an intervention by Dr. Drew, or more likely, Dr. Kevorkian. (My words, not Robert’s.) Not only am I seeing the same things, but I’d take it a step further. I believe this current crop of entrepreneurs might actually be hurting America - and perverting the very idea of innovation in the same way Beyonce’s Run The World is like kicking Aretha Franklin in the ribs…repeatedly. All is not lost. There are ways to take advantage of this situation, though it’s way too late to save this song: