Brainstorming has long been touted as one of the best ways to find new ideas. During a brainstorming session, members of a group write down or shout out every concept that comes to mind, with the overall goal of finding one or two great ideas out of the noise. Brainstorming certainly has its place in business, but you may find a few drawbacks to using this technique.
Teamwork is a critical aspect of running a business, but you also need to be able to highlight individual contributions and achievements. When the majority of your company’s ideas come from brainstorming sessions, employees find it more difficult to take ownership of great ideas. This also makes it more difficult for you to identify members of your company that consistently bring great ideas to the table.
The idea behind brainstorming is that judgment is suspended and there are no bad ideas. This encourages people to talk about whatever comes to mind and deepens your pool of ideas. However, this can be a double-edged sword. With judgment suspended, your group could rapidly head down a path filled with irrelevant or unrealistic ideas. If this goes on for too long, brainstorming sessions can become major time-wasters instead of business contributions.
Brainstorming is a sort of forced creativity – spouting out the first thing you think of and attempting to move forward with it. However, brainstorming sessions do not inherently inspire creative or innovative behavior from your staff and can often end up being full of repetition of things that have been brought up in previous meetings. It is important to find other ways to inspire creativity in your staff if you want to keep your company on the edge.
Modern businesses have put a lot of stock in the idea that a group of people can come together and brainstorm for a while to come up with the next big innovation. While this is sometimes true, brainstorming is often a collection of useless ideas with one or two winners. You can improve upon brainstorming results by asking team members to prepare for the activity by researching markets and competition. This will yield more effective, relevant and interesting brainstorming results.