…today’s secret…10 Rules of Brainstorming.

Two heads are better than one for generating ideas. Right?

Here are 10 basic brainstorming rules…

  1. Give everyone prior notice of upcoming brainstorming session.
  2. Generate as many ideas as possible. Go for quantity, not quality.
  3. Encourage wild and exaggerated ideas, no matter how crazy.
  4. No detailed discussion about an idea, except to provide clarification.
  5. Assign someone as the scribe – write down every idea – no screening.
  6. The brainstorming list must be visible to everyone.
  7. Snowballing on the other ideas is encouraged.
  8. Postpone and withhold judgment of any idea.
  9. Leave your titles at the door.
  10. 8-12 is the optimum number of people, with some outsiders.

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this. Brainstorming by these rules doesn’t work.

There is plenty of research that individuals working together using the above rules come up with fewer ideas (and fewer good ideas) than the same number of people with the same expertise working alone.

I’m with Johnny on this one…

“Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.”

 John Steinbeck, East of Eden, Chap. 13, 1952

Here’s the recipe for real, world-changing, life-altering magic around idea creation:

Gather some curious people. Identify the situation. Let them share some meals together, maybe some wine. Over their casual discussion and relaxation they will pelt each other with questions, stories, and personal observations.

Then stand back, for a tidal wave of ideas is coming to wash you away.