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Business Consulting For The 21st Century Via A Holistic & Intelligent Approach

“A fool with a tool is still a fool”

Consumed => “Brainstorms On Brainstorming: How To Get Better Results” by Linda Stewart on Forbes.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/03/01/brainstorms-on-brainstorming-how-to-get-better-results

=> My value add (i.e., left a comment)…

Thanks Linda.

Perhaps I should come out from under my rock but this was the first time I heard/read, “A fool with a tool is still a fool.” Brilliant!

Three things, if you don’t mind:

1) You said: “People who participate in a group process like brainstorming will have greater support for and ownership of the ideas.” I’m not so sure that’s entirely true. It’s quite possible a group can become polarized and/or trigger territorial behavior.

2) I would think step one, or at least one of your tips would have been, “Know who to brainstorm with.” And if it’s a meeting it should have an agenda. We’ve all been to meetings where the wrong people were in the room and the discussion too often drifted off-topic. Yes, by definition cast a wide net but off-topic is still off-topic.

3) While envisioning everyone being in the same timezone, on the same continent and in the same room is convenient, I’m not so sure that’s realistic. Perhaps a future article can explore technology and its roles in modern day brainstorming?

  1. Linda

    Hi, Mark, and thank YOU for your thoughtful comments.

    When I say that people are more likely to support a plan they came up with as a group, I’m speaking from having been in those challenging situations! It’s true, as you mention, that some territorial behavior or polarization can occur as a group evaluates data and makes decisions. The good news is that — if you have a skilled facilitator or leader — these behaviors become a way to make ideas better, and won’t tear a group apart.

    Your point #2 actually is the key to this — knowing your stakeholders/audience and figuring out what will be a ‘win’ for them — and then having the skills to manage the group and not be afraid of the group setting. More daunting are the consequences faced by a leader who makes a command-and-control decision with no input from the larger division or group. Opposition, resistance — even sabotage — are often the result.

    Also to your point #2, you’re right: Having the right people in the room is absolutely critical to creating synergy, which is one of the most beneficial outcomes of brainstorming.

    Finally, technology is a great way to collaborate without boundaries. In my experience, and according to Interaction Associates’ research, the nuances of virtual meetings make them even harder to lead than face-to-face meetings. We’ve developed and tested some of the best group behaviors to boost the effectiveness of virtual meetings. I’d love to do a follow-up article on that.

    –My best, Linda

  2. Chief Alchemist

    Hi Linda – Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    For the record, I did enjoy your article. I apologize if I came off like a critic. I’m confident I knew what your best intentions were/are. That said, there are plenty (read: too many?) how treat proper process like buying a loaf of bread. It’s not a yank it off the shelf, fill in the blanks, one shot, cookie-cutter, deal, is it?

    It’s the fools who fail to recognize – or are in denial? – that the devil is in the details. I was simply filling in a couple of the blanks. I hope I didn’t step on your toes.

    I do agree that distance leads to disconnect and that technology in and of itself is not always the answer. None the less, I would like to hear/read you drill down on collaboration and brainstorming in decade number two of the 21st century.

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