In an intriguing film on hbr.com, innovation specialist Tony McCaffrey argues that traditional brainstorming sessions are a waste of time. Why? Because having groups sharing ideas is inefficient compared to people working on their own. Moreover, the usual brainstorm scenario privileges extroverts while the ideas of introverts are rarely heard. So is it time to cease group idea generation?
I think not. At Make Happy we see everyday the power of getting a group of people in a room, setting up the objectives and parameters, and watching the ideas flow. Such sessions have transformed both our business and those of our clients.
However, the video does make some excellent points. Particularly, the thorny challenge of how to ensure that all members of the group, introvert or extravert, are given an opportunity to share their ideas.
If you are worried that the more introverted amongst your team are uncomfortable and quiet during idea generation sessions, a technique such as Lego Serious Play (LSP) could really help.
The goal of Lego Serious Play is to allow teams to develop their ideas by creating 3D models of their organisational experiences. One of the key reasons the technique is so powerful is that everyone has to build and discuss their own model before contributing to a shared model. This ensures that all participants contribute equally to the discussion.
There is also a body of academic research that learning happens particularly well when people are engaged in constructing something external to themselves like a product (or Lego castle!)
If you think your team could benefit from a Lego Serious Play session contact Sophie on 0207 269 6990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.