Brainstorming Doesn't Work. Try 'Brainswarming' Instead
Sharing ideas without judgment, or brainstorming, may be the main group idea-generating tool in the professional world, but does it work in your office?
Tony McCaffrey, the chief technology officer at tech startup Innovation Accelerator, writes in the Harvard Business Review that brainstorming can be inefficient and incredibly time consuming. It also can be uncomfortable for more reserved employees, inhibiting creativity.
McCaffrey says that there hasn't been one study that proves the effectiveness of brainstorming since the term was coined in 1953. Through his research, he created a new idea-generating technique he calls "Brainswarming."
"Why do we need to talk in the first place?" he says in a demonstration video on HBR. Brainswarming is built off of how ants solve problems. When looking for food, ants leave traces of pheromones for other ants to follow--an efficient way to lead the colony to resources without wasting time or creating confusion.
To start brainswarming, write the goal or problem you need to achieve or solve on a big piece of paper and have your team sit silently and write down different ways to tackle it with your company's resources in mind. Once the right resources are found, you've come up with your solution.
Watch McCaffrey's video explaining the finer points of brainswarming below.
WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter, Inc.com
Will Yakowicz is a staff writer for Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and local politics for The Brooklyn Paper and was the editor of Park Slope Patch. He has also reported on the West Bank and Moscow for Tablet Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.