Brainstorming to Increase Alternative Generation: A Comparison of Group Participation and Pooled Individual Effort.
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KANS
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The ability to creatively solve problems is a critical skill for a military commandermanager. Creative problem-solving depends upon creative alternative generation or ideation. An often espoused method of improving ideation is the use of group brainstorming. However, the findings reported from numerous brainstorming experiments cast doubt on the efficacy of group participation in brainstorming. Nevertheless, criticisms of the experiments abound and the technique continues to be a popular, recommended management tool. This pilot study compares the effectiveness of group brainstorming to individual brainstorming by contrasting the quantity and quality of ideas generated in a brainstorming group to the pooled ideas produced by an equal number of individuals working alone. The study reviews the major brainstorming experiments and attempts to directly address the major criticisms of those studies in the experimental design. The methodology maximizes the potential for effective group brainstorming within the constraint of practicality in a military setting in order to evaluate the technique and determine the desirability of a more comprehensive field study. The findings clearly support the superiority of individual over group brainstorming using currently recommended techniques. Nevertheless, the study demonstrates that the potential usefulness of group brainstorming is not a dead issue and further study is warranted. Author
- Administration and Management