Seven Reasons Brainstorming Fails

As we begin to hopefully move out of remote work and covid clutter, pivoting seems to be the mantra on many leaders’ lips. Certainly, it will not be “business as usual.”   How many ways can we respond to customers and clients?  What new offerings might we create?

But before a group is convened to “brainstorm”, consider these reasons why many “brainstorms” fail:

  1. The people doing the brainstorming are there by mandate – not by desire. Send out an open invitation. Those who care most will show up.
  2. There are too many ideas generated and no criteria for culling out the ones that need further input.
  3. The stated problem is the wrong problem.
  4. The facilitator is too weak to keep people focused and on track.
  5. There is no assigned follow-up.
  6. The wrong people are at the table. Specifically, each stage of brainstorming requires different talents. The strategic creative people open the barn door to possibilities. The operational, process people chart the part of potential actions.
  7. Naysayers start before the process is over. Put everything first on the table and THEN whittle away. But have clear criteria for doing so… not “we don’t have the money” or “the boss won’t like it.”

With these notes of caution, proceed!  Multiple responses to any given situation is one way for creating a resilient organization!

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