the-brainstorming-myth1(2)

The claim that brainstorming was an efficient and

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Unformatted text preview: s an efficient and effective way of generating ideas. They found that so-called “nominal” groups – made up of subjects who “brainstormed alone” and then had their nonredundant ideas combined – outperformed interacting groups of the same number (“real” groups). This finding has been consistently replicated. The most influential early research was carried out in the 1970s by Bouchard and his colleagues. Among other things, they manipulated the group size, subjects’ sex and the brainstorming procedure itself in order to understand what in fact determined the problem-solving effectiveness of groups and individuals (Bouchard 1972). More recent research during the 1980s and 1990s has tried to answer the question of w hy individuals performed better than groups (Paulus and Dzindolet 1993). The Brainstorming Myth 23 “Brainstorming”: the Word and Its History The (chiefly north American) term “brainstorming” is derived from, and juxtaposed in the dictionary with, “brainstorm” which is defined as a “fit of insanity”. The Longmans dictionary goes on to define brainstorming as “a problem solving technique that involves the spontaneous distribution of ideas from all members of a group”. It is now very popular and often used as a verb, as in “to brainstorm a problem”. In the etymological approach of the Oxford English Dictionary the definition is: “brain-storm, (a) ‘a succession of sudden and severe phenomena, due to some cerebral disturbance’ (Gould 1894); (b) US colloquial = brain-wave; (c) US, a concerted ‘attack’ on a problem, usually by amassing a number of spontaneous ideas which are then discussed…” The evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups. However, “brainstorming” now has a long and respectable history as a technique for generating innovation: “brainstorming. Or buzz groups. Bombardment of ideas between small groups of people uninhibitedly suggesting solutions, whether outlandish or well-informed, to various problems. Good therapy for participants and can “Nominal” and “Real” Brainstorming Groups Much of the research on brainstorming compares the productivity of “nominal” groups – people working alone whose ideas are pooled – with the productivity of “real” groups – people brainstorming together in the same room. One issue is group size. Although Osborn had suggested that the optimal size of brainstorming groups was between seven and ten, early experiments had never gone above four-person groups. Bouchard and Hare (1970) compared real groups of five, seven and nine to the equivalent nominal groups. They expected the effectiveness of nominal groups to be overtaken by that of the real groups as the groups got bigger. Instead they found that nominal groups were more effective up to nine persons. produce the occasional breakthrough idea that might otherwise never be touched on. Brainstorming may be used to help solve a wide ran...
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