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This week in content marketing: brainstorm warning

Colm Larkin

May 19, 2017

This week in content marketing, we examine why many people feel the traditional brainstorm doesn’t work and look at some alternatives for generating new ideas.

Brainstorming doesn’t work

According to psychologist and marketer, Art Markman, studies show that the traditional brainstorm method of getting everyone in a room to come up with lots of ideas doesn’t work.He believes a group setting means ideas tend to converge – when you hear one suggestion, your thinking automatically goes down similar lines.

A better way is to first let individuals work alone, where each person will generate ideas more likely to diverge from those of others. Then all these ideas can be built on by the entire team, so you combine the divergence and convergence stages.

The write stuff

Teamwork expert Leigh Thompson suggests brainwriting as a more effective method of idea generation. She believes that group thinking can be stifled by the presence of higher status individuals like managers, as people tend to “bandwagon” around their ideas.

Like Markman, Thompson suggests people work alone to write down their ideas and aim for quantity over quality. She also recommends that the brainstorm leader asks for a certain number of impractical ideas as these often help people to look at problems in a different light.

Blue sky thinking with your feet on the ground

Writing down ideas is one of three brainstorm tips we highlighted in our post on how to generate ideas that keep the project goals firmly in mind. We also looked at the structured graph of Dr. Tony McCaffrey’s Brainswarming technique, which helps align ideas to goals.

Our favorite is Walt Disney’s split personality approach, where he generated ideas first as a Dreamer, then a Realist who would see how each of the Dreamer’s suggestions could actually work. Finally, he became the Critic who would try to take apart the best ideas. And that’s how magic was made.

That was our week in content marketing. What caught your eye recently? Share your links in the comments below.