Group brainstorming excels at generating both very good and very bad ideas.
Finding the most effective way to brainstorm is easier once you figure out what you want to get out of the process. In particular, there are structural differences between the kind of brainstorming session that will generate one great idea and the type that will produce several above-average concepts, according to a new study.The study’s findings are described in a January 2008 working paper, titled Idea Generation and the Quality of the Best Idea, coauthored by Karan Girotra, an assistant professor of technology and operations management at INSEAD and by two professors from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania: Christian Terwiesch, associate professor of operations and information management and Karl T. Ulrich, CIBC Professor of Operations and Information Management. “The front end of the ideation stage is very important,” notes Girotra. “But companies are not as structured or as rigorous about this phase of the research and development process. Management tends to focus its attention on the later stages.” Those later stages are indeed critical — and expensive — but managers needn’t risk getting that far with a subpar idea.