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Brainstorming Better Together, Alone

Pain points, efficiencies, problems, desires. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of what they look like or what we call them, it's our job to figure out the best ways to tackle them. 

Brainstorming is common practice in the workplace. You get a group together and rapidly come up with ideas. In theory, this is a dynamic affair where folks are engaged and all voices are heard, tapping into everyone's unique perspectives and talents. A lot of ideas are generated, refined through debate, and the best ones bubble to the top. 

In practice, this is a dull affair. The most vocal and the most senior dominate. The junior and the introverted passively nod along. And everyone else, simply coasts through. We wrap with a measly number of ideas, stemmed from a concentrated perspective, untested by challenge.

To avoid this trap, turn brainstorming on its head. Start alone. 

Instead of starting cold with everyone, warm up solo. Have each participate generate an individual set of ideas. Give them the space to tap into and explore their unique points of view first. Then when coming together, have everyone present. This will paint a much richer picture of the solution space. It will eliminate the social loafing and deference to authority that is so common with groups. It will drive up engagement and debate, sparking more ideas of higher quality. 


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