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February 06, 2012


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david mashburn

Thanks Gregg, for bringing my attention to this misrepresentation of the existing research. Apparently, there had been an equally misinformed article named "Forget Brainstorming" in a 2010 News Week edition. I received a few private emails about similar concerns, mostly from consultants who facilitate techniques of Brainstorming and have seen, first hand, the beneficial results. I have been out of town, on vacation, since this was published and have just now had a chance to respond. I will consider writing a correction to the misconceptions that I have helped spread and use much more caution in the future when reporting on what I have read in one article. By the way.. I will add your blog to my Google Reader list. Thanks Again

Gregg Fraley

Actually, the Yale research did not test or measure whether brainstorming works or not. It tested whether groups do better or worse than individuals. In their test, a non-team (randomly put together), was unfacilitated, untrained, and was working on a challenge they had no real vested interest in. Not so surprisingly, the group didn't do so well. So, while the research told us something, it really didn't tell us that brainstorming, as Osborn defined it (trained people, focused question, facilitated by a neutral person, etc.) doesn't work. Subsequent research by Sid Parnes, Phd, Moe Stein, Scott Isaksen and several others proved that groups can indeed do very well in generating high quality ideas. Sadly, the New Yorker article is perpetuating a mis-conception about the Yale research. For a fair look at this see: http://cpsb.com/resources/downloads/public/302-Brainstorm.pdf

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