Does brainstorming still have value
In a recent post I posed the question:
Does “business” actually have the capacity to deliver on the innovation promise? (click to read)
Often, when a business wants to jump into the innovation lane their first stop is a brainstorming session. “Ahhhhh, not again” I hear you say!! (No wonder innovation is so toothless….)
Well you are not the only one who cringes at the thought. I’ve seen quite a bit of commentary recently on the subject. A good article that discussed the Pro’s and Con’s was written by Mark McGuiness at Lateral Action. Another more recent is from Business Week – Brainstorming for Better Business – which gives some real life examples of brainstorming in action.
From my perspectives Brainstorming is an effective part in a process, and should not be viewed as a singular isolated event. By this I mean that there has to be some type of “focus” prior to the brainstorming to make sure it addresses the right problem. This helps keep the ideation on track.
Following the brainstorming is evaluation and the same people need to be involved. This helps train the participants to think of future ideas within the evaluation criteria – thereby improving the quality and effectiveness of future sessions.Those that use brainstorming regularly and embed it in their working practices become effective at it, and find it valuable. Those who view it as a chore or an ineffective practice end up making it so.
Several weeks ago I saw this illustration. In the accompanying article it explained how some items travel along a “Value” path and ultimately pass through a trough where they have so little value that they are actively trashed. I think that brainstorming is in this part of the cycle. Hopefully this useful tool’s value will again be appreciated.