I am not a fan of brainstorming. But I am a fan of purposeful collaboration. And to some this may appear a contradiction. In an excellent article in a recent New York Times, Susan Cain explores the dangers of groupthink and the horrors of noisy, distracted offices. She points out that true genius needs solitude and time to think. Perhaps academia and ideas do. But innovation does not. As Matt Ridley pointed out, ‘ideas have sex’ – and economic and business history is littered with examples of pioneering that was only achieved by the accidental mixing, the casual alliance or the perfect partnership – at just the right time.
Whilst it may require some peace and some introspection to think through a problem – building a better solution is best achived with a blend of talents, insights and knowledge. Its as much an art as a science. Customers, suppliers, industry allies, IP owners and agencies, the team from the local firm – and yes, even those guys across the office – may have a valuable spark that will cause your innovation fire to burn. Brainstorming and the resulting groupthink is a highly damaging and over valued process. And that is why collaboration and innovation – is not the same as groupthink or brainstorming.
For the full article – please see – The Rise of the New Groupthink – NYT (versus seclusion and immersion).