Brainstorming: Does It Help or Hinder Creativity and Innovation

brainstormingI have been looking into the pros and cons of brainstorming. I work with a great group of guys at work that have been teamed up to spur innovation throughout the company. I also work with another team that uses brainstorming on a fairly regular basis, both to solve real problems and as a training tool. However, my research has turned up some interesting things about the old problem solving tool.

Consider this article. In it, Nick Currie talks about how brainstorming tends to create a “hive mind” mentality among groups rather than help innovation or creativity. This perspective is not uncommon.

Over the last few months, I have started using mind mapping. I actually love it and it seems to help with my individual brainstorming process. I have also used a variety of other problems solving and creativity tools that I have picked up from books, the Web, etc.

I would like to know what you use:

  • What types of tools do you use to help with your individual idea generation and problem solving?
  • When you work in groups, how do you harness the creativity of several people?
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