Brainstorming: Friend or Foe?

We’ve all been there. The boss asks, “Who has a good idea?” A few vocal people speak up and dominate the discussion for most of the meeting, while the rest of the participants remain mostly quiet. Ideas are evaluated and rejected as soon as they are proposed. The meeting ends without an action plan, and nothing really happens afterwards. That’s a recipe for a disastrous and frustrating brainstorming session.

The practice of brainstorming has come under criticism lately, and rightly so.

How to Convert Virtual Reality into Actual Reality

"Imagine you had a pair of magical goggles that would take you anywhere, instantly. Where would you go? ... What would you do? ... That's a powerful thought, and that's what VR can do."
That’s how Michael Abrash of Oculus described the immersive technology of virtual reality.
Imagine that you REALLY had a pair of magic goggles. They could REALLY take you anywhere, instantly. Where WOULD you go? What WOULD you do?
Grab some paper and a pen and try this:
  • Image that you are wearing these magical goggles. For two minutes, write all of the places you would go and things you would do.

Cuban-style Lobster Brainstorming!

How is Brainstorming Like a Food Truck?

In a blog post entitled "Our Supercomputer Overlord Is Now Running A Food Truck," Adrianne Jeffries on describes a unique food truck powered by IBM Watson software. This super-intelligent truck  made its debut in Las Vegas and later in Austin at SXSW. She writes:

The chef starts by suggesting a main ingredient — say, lobster. The program then goes through its huge database of recipes and ingredient profiles, looking for other ingredients known to pair well with it in different global cuisines.

Three Reasons Why You Should NOT Brainstorm

Connecting The Dots

Brainstorming is the process of "connecting the dots"–the right dots. If brainstorming is approached without properly framing the question, problem, or opportunity, the wrong dots might get connected. Even worse, instead of connections, the result may be disconnects.

Here are three reasons why you shouldn't brainstorm:

You're desperate

Desperate people do desperate things, and then they must live with the consequences. They tend to focus more on satisfying the immediate need than establishing the best overall direction.

Together WE CAN Innovate!

There's an old joke about a dog chasing a car–he'll never catch it, and even if he ever did, he wouldn't know what to do with it!

Innovators obsessively watch for signs of change, because change brings opportunity. But what do they do when they find it? They toss it into the can–the WE CAN! I’m not talking about an actual can–I'm talking about the systematic innovation practices described in the acronym "WE CAN."

We often say that innovation is more like panning for gold than alchemy. Innovation is systematic work, not the product of disorganization or magic.