Do you ever find that brainstorming with a group of people can be extremely unproductive? Typically there are good intentions going into a brainstorming session with a group of individuals, but also, there's a lot of time wasted.  



The concept of brainstorming is nice in theory, but it often does not have a successful outcome until multiple meetings are held. It is great to let ideas flow and have individuals bounce concepts or thoughts of each other. What we don’t like though, is when everyone meets to discuss something, and only one or two approaches are taken into consideration because often there are 1-2 people with louder voices (literally and figuratively) and others often forget their own ideas and go along with other people’s ideas.

According to an article by Fast Company, Brainstorming Is Dumb, they found that “study after study found that people who use this group technique produce fewer good ideas than those who ideate alone.”

We've come up with an alternative method to replace traditional brainstorming techniques we call, thoughtshop.  What this means is before gathering all stakeholders to brainstorm we give a brief verbally or in written form, which may include goals, topics, and a description of what we’ll talk about later. Then everyone goes off on their own for a bit to think and research individually. That way when we do end up gathering as a group to discuss, everyone has their own ideas and perspectives to share. Our belief is that everyone's thoughts and ideas are valuable and they can be better shared once individuals conceptualize them on their own. This brings more value overall to us as a group, which is reflected in the efficiency of our work with clients.

Our Art Director, Dana Smith, explains why she sees using the thoughtshop practice as more beneficial than traditional brainstorming. This is the first of a series of "Stop..." videos we'll be sharing over the coming weeks.