Beware of brainstorming bias

This article first appeared on February 21st, 2012.


“Get out the butcher’s paper – we’re going to do some brainstorming!”


Oh, how I love hearing these words. There is nothing quite like hearing the inane suggestions of your teammates to really get Old Taskmaster’s heart singing.


Okay, I don’t hate brainstorming that much. When you’ve got the right people in the room and you’re in the right mood, coming up with tens or even hundreds of idea can be pretty good fun.


You get to think big, you get to think out of the box, you get to see how others in your team see the business. Good stuff.


But what happens after the brainstorming session is really, really important. The bit where you whittle the big group of ideas to a handful you think are gold can be the most dangerous part of the process.


You see, the ideas that you keep are unlikely to be the far out crazy ones. They’ll be the ones that you know you can do easily, because they fit with what you are doing now.


And therein lies the problem. Although you’ve tried to be wild and crazy, what you can end up doing is the same things in a different way.


Beware the butcher’s paper.


Get it done – today!


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