New, innovative and constructive ideas are important for the success of every organisation
and among the numerous exercises for generating ideas is, most notably, brainstorming.
Typically, brainstorming is a facilitated group exercise that focuses on coming up with ideas, selecting what are perceived to be the best of those ideas and then
developing the ideas into a concept, campaign, event or product.
In bringing together a diverse group of people with a variety of experiences and a common goal, brainstorming might seem like a productive operation. However, evidence of its success in producing quality ideas suggests otherwise, because what is required from brainstorming is at odds with many of the dynamics that govern the behaviour of a group.
Bringing a group together (regardless of its intention) is far more likely to encourage, first and foremost, group behaviours. These include conformity, social loafing and competition—conditions that have the potential to result in paranoia, shyness, fear of being evaluated rather than promoting the relaxed informal environment necessary for encouraging creativity and innovative thinking.
Consensus becomes a favoured outcome and the larger the group, the greater is its propensity for groupthink.