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Eight Tips for Better Brainstorming

Should your team brainstorm as a group or as individuals? At creative companies, switching between the two modes can be seamlessand highly productive

A recent Wall Street Journal story took on the hot topic of brainstorming. Titled "Brainstorming Works Best if People Scramble For Ideas on Their Own," the piece quoted research showing that people are "more creative" when they "brainstorm" alone rather than in meetings and offered supporting testimonials from managers.

This is a subject I am quite familiar with. Along with Andy Hargadon, I completed an 18-month ethnography in the 1990s on how the innovation consultants at IDEO do creative work, and we've both spent much of the past decade studying other innovative organizations. At the time, Andy was my PhD student, and now he is an associate professor at the University of California at Davis.