Fix Your Useless Brainstorming Sessions in Two Minutes

Anyone who’s run a brainstorming session will tell you there are always a few strong personalities that dominate the discussion, effectively putting everyone else on mute.

If the goal is to get the conversation chugging along so that everyone contributes, this can be frustrating, as well as downright counterproductive. Ballooning the size of the group isn’t a good idea, either—you’ll just wind up with a few more loudmouths and a more crowded conference room.

There’s a way businesses can use brainstorming to generate real solutions, however . Kellogg School of Management professor Leigh Thompson describes how brain writing — a technique involving index cards, pens, and anonymous scribbling — can neutralize the undue influence of alpha colleagues.

In the short clip above, Professor Thompson discusses what happened when she helped a CEO use this technique in a brainstorming session with his key sales and marketing team. You can see the complete video here.