Jonah Lehrer in the New Yorker lays out how Brainstorming exercises don’t add up to what we think, and shows us that diversity leads to more innovative ideas in “Groupthink: The Brainstroming Myth”:
The fatal misconception behind brainstorming is that there is a particular script we should all follow in group interactions. The lesson of Building 20 is that when the composition of the group is right—enough people with different perspectives running into one another in unpredictable ways—the group dynamic will take care of itself. All these errant discussions add up. In fact, they may even be the most essential part of the creative process. Although such conversations will occasionally be unpleasant—not everyone is always in the mood for small talk or criticism—that doesn’t mean that they can be avoided. The most creative spaces are those which hurl us together. It is the human friction that makes the sparks.
Read the whole thing.
Rebuttal: Scott Berkun: “In Defense of Brainstorming”.