Like any business practice, brainstorms are not the answer to every creativity problem situation. For instance, some people think and work better creatively when alone. Other times, it’s useless to bring people together if it’s the wrong environment.
There are positive and negative aspects of brainstorming. But before the facilitator decides to conduct a brainstorm, here’s a short list of when you should not brainstorm.
Key Reasons When You Should Not Have Brainstorm
- The group lacks key information: the specific goal, the problems or issues facing key stakeholders, a defined target audience, or exact criteria on how you’ll pick the best ideas. It’s also my own personal opinion that when the facilitator doesn’t have an agenda, your time will be wasted.
- The facilitator is biased: they already believe they have the best idea and all other ideas will be minimised
- No support from senior managers
- There’s one person in the group who will dominate the discussion, not allow others to interject, and if they do, they’ll only provide destructive feedback, usually personal to boot
- The organisational culture prefers group think, or doesn’t have a sense of urgency or curiosity
- The wrong mindset: namely negativity, or just as bad, isn’t interested in changing the status quo
- The idea is obvious, especially if you don’t have that much time anyway
- No sense of urgency or curiosity
Again, there are plenty of good reasons to conduct a brainstorm:
- Better solutions leading to better decisions
- Encourages imagination, conversation and healthy, constructive debate
- Time efficient (not just run well, but adequate preparation and faciltiation)
- Urgent and interactive, if not fun!
You might want to check out previous content related to this topic: The Important Difference Between Negativity and Criticism in Brainstorming.