Brainstorming is a bad idea?

Looking at the quote on Marc Andreessen’s blog post Why brainstorming is a bad idea, I am forced to concede to the evidence presented, even though I am a big fan of group brainstorming. I wonder, though, if similar studies/experiments have been performed using what I refer to as “structured brainstorming”, meaning (to me) group brainstorming using tools/techniques/games designed to drive idea generation? I wonder if the results would differ?


7 Replies to “Brainstorming is a bad idea?”

  1. I tend to think that the effectiveness of brainstorming has more to do with how well the facilitator is trained rather then who is in attendance. You don’t need to find the best subject mater people in the world for the meetings, You just need the current above average employees with some subject mater understanding to get the job done.

    I’ve facilitated enough meetings to see that when someone or thinks they have found the correct or perfect answer they move from idea-creation to idea-defense and begin the process of getting people to jump on board with their fabulous idea.

    In my post “Exceptionalism: Focus on the Never” I document a possible facilitation method that might help you out of that trap. Hope you enjoy.

    Good Hunting.


  2. Patricia,

    I noticed that statment in the original article.

    I agree that brainstorming remains a useful process – and as you say, as with most human endeavours, without a strong, well-defined process, the results you acheive will be hit and miss, at best.



  3. Marc Andressen omits an important part of The Medici Effect – wherein the author states:

    “So, should we all stop brainstorming? I don’t think so. Done right, brainstorming is a highly effective way to actively generate intersectional ideas.”

    Unfortunately, Marc’s desire for a controversial quote led him to take Johannsen completely out of context.

    Generally, bad process leads to bad brainstorming, just as bad process leads to bad results in most meetings.



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