A Meeting of Individual Minds

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Over at Life Hacker is a post on cutting brain-storming time by half.

Now, let me attempt to save some of my readers a little trouble with a spoiler: This post is aimed at brain-storming by groups, contrary to the reason its title piqued my interest. Nevertheless, I think the post offers value, because it compliments other advice I have encountered on cutting down the amount of time wasted in meetings. (Indeed, it may even circumvent the problem of largely ineffective group brainstorming by shifting the creative work to individuals and having such meetings be mostly evaluative and collaborative.)

That earlier advice on short meetings centered around having everyone familiarize themselves with background material beforehand. That still applies, but brainstorming is a little bit different, in that there is a further creative element. Mark Miller of Inc. suggests that the meeting organizer, "[P]rovide a pre-work, individual assignment first that spurs the thinking."

This step gets lots of the individual thinking done and eliminates some of the pitfalls of doing that part of the work at the meeting:

... The problem with long brainstorming sessions is that ideas get recycled with minor tweaks because once everyone has heard a good idea, they anchor themselves to it. On top of that, people grow attached to their ideas, causing them to become defensive and destroying true collaboration...
The article does indirectly save an individual time, by cutting down on meeting time. But what about more effective brain-storming on one's own? Probably the best single source of ideas I have encountered for this remains Jean Moroney's "Tap Your Own Brilliance" course, which I took a few years back.

That said, I am always looking for new ideas in that area, so if you have a favorite, feel free to leave a comment.

-- CAV


Today: Corrected a typo.

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