4 Ways to Wreck Group Brainstorming

Don't wreck your group brainstorming sesh.

Group brainstorming can really be a powerful way to get outside your head, but you can wreck group brainstorming without even realizing it! Tons of businesses use group brainstorming to solve problems and answer questions.  Why?

Brainstorming has been around for over have half a century as an effective creative problem-solving tool.

The benefits of brainstorming with a group is you get a ton of different ideas and the added benefit that the group will build and expand on ideas from others.  The best part, you simply get a lot MORE ideas!  Remember, the entire goal of brainstorming is about the quantity of ideas, wild ideas included!

How can group brainstorm go wrong?

Is it really possible to wreck a group brainstorm session?

If you’ve ever participated in a bad group brainstorming session you probably still have scars!  If the group brainstorming session goes off the tracks you'll end up with poor results and a seething, stormy group.

How to Wreck a Group Brainstorm:

  • The person with the problem to be solved tells the group what types of ideas they are looking for and starts sharing what they think makes a ‘good’ idea.

IDEAS VAPORIZE! This will cut your ideas probably by 50% and it makes people hesitant to even participate!

  • People in the group start telling war stories as they share their idea.

TIME WASTER! Now you've lost 50% of the group's time to help and it starts to bias others in the group.

  • People start responding to other's ideas by saying why it won’t work or that’s it’s been tried before without success.

NEGATIVE NAYSAYERS! Now you're losing time and people start to second guess their ideas so they share less.

  • People unconsciously or consciously respond to an idea with poor body language; eye rolling, smirking or a side comment.

BODY BLAH!  Bad body language is sabotaging the best ideas. 

So how to make sure your group brainstorming session isn't wrecked and you end up with a silent and stormy group?

Group brainstorming does require more effort and skill. This is one time when it makes sense to get a facilitator to help manage complexities of the social situation.

Why does a facilitator improve the process?

  • Clarifies the questions
  • Keeps the session on track
  • Prevents or redirects bad or unproductive behaviors

It’s helpful to have a facilitator for group brainstorming virtually or face-to-face since many of these issues come up.

What's been the worst group brainstorming session you've been in? Let's hear it all in the comments the bad and the ugly!