None Of Us Is As Dumb As All Of Us

If you are accustomed to working in an office you’ll be familiar with the myriad of conference calls, meetings and ‘brainstorming’ events that waste most people’s days. While most people assume that the most effective method of coming up with new ideas is to gather everyone close to a whiteboard and lock the doors the latest research shows that this is not true.

In fact together we are stupider then when we are apart.

We still need creative thought. We still have problems to solve. What is a species to do?

  1. Take advantage of the strengths of the group. The advantage that you have over and individual is more background and diversity. Keep the redundant BS to a minimum. This is much more difficult than it sounds as people tend to like to reiterate what the guy next to them just said. This also results in a great deal of positioning. Which leads to…
  2. Brainwriting instead of brainstorming. The approach taken in the study is interesting. I would like to see another study conducted on the effectiveness of IM or text based conversations to see if the principle can work when the group is forced to participate in an online forum. The anonymity of the internet can lead users to do stupid things. Could that same shield provide a more relaxed environment for group brainstorming.
  3. When you have a hard problem to solve try a threesome. Three person groups fared better than all others at solving logic based problems.

There you have it. The next time I act annoyed at another brainstorming waste of time I have actual research to backup what I’ve observed so many times:

None Of Us Is As Dumb As All Of Us.

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