How to create brilliant ideas as a team – without slipping into groupthink – UofSC News & Events



Sharing ideas can get messy when colleagues don’t understand or support new concepts—or when they shut them down altogether. Visual communication professor Sabrina Habib writes for The conversation about concrete ways to facilitate brainstorming, both individually and in groups.


Creativity is one of those the most in-demand skills in the workplace.

It’s not surprising that leading multinationals are looking for inventive thinkers: research shows that creativity can drive innovation and resilience in organizations.

tech giant Google has grown by reinventing the way we all use the internet. Manufacturers of electric cars Tesla promotes a collaborative work environment to “solve the world’s most important problems with talented people”.

Still, sharing ideas can get messy when colleagues don’t understand or support new concepts—or when they close them. Research offers some concrete ways to facilitate idea generation, both individually and in groups. But first, it helps to know what you’re trying to facilitate.

So what do employers mean when they talk about creativity?

What is creativity?

Creativity has many definitions. Most mention originality and solve problems.

Renowned Psychologist Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi perhaps put it best when he described creativity in the workplace as an idea that is being recognized as something new by other experts in the field and the general public.

In my researchI explore the creative process in the context of higher educationadvertising guide.

In 2019, I created a course at the University of South Carolina called Creative Thinking & Problem Solving to help college students thrive in the workplace where most problems don’t have an exact answer and they don’t Have study guides or feedback from teachers. I’ve observed that after a lifetime of filling in bubbles on multiple-choice tests, some students find working in gray areas where every solution seems possible to be intimidating.

The creative process

And yet, after graduation, most of my students will look at job descriptions that mention creativity, one of the most coveted soft skills.

The corporate trend towards group problem solving goes back about eight decades. Advertiser and business guru Alex Osborn coined the term “brainstorming”, which he used in his 1948 book “your creative power‘ than ‘Using the brain to rush a creative problem – and do it in commando fashion, with each stormer attacking the same target.’ His goal was quantity: 10 of his employees once produced 87 ideas for an advertising campaign in just 90 minutes.

While brainstorming in teams can help colleagues connect, debate, and share ideas, its effectiveness remains intact questioned from researcher in the past few years. Many organizations continue to use the method. Public recognition of their ideas puts people in the spotlight and makes them vulnerable to criticism. A lack of confidence can too challenge creative thinking.

Many resources have emerged that offer strategies for building individual creative confidence. they include accept failure, play games and Overcoming the fear of judgment.

The challenge of brainstorming in teams

Because people see problems from different perspectives, research shows that groups with diverse disciplines, backgrounds, beliefs, knowledge and skills produce the strongest and most unique outcomes. brainstorm below people with different skills holds individuals accountable for contributing proposals from their specific area.

Successful group work requires concentration. My research shows that it is important to be diligent
Define the challenge, task or problem. This includes gathering key data and outlining boundaries such as timeframe, budget, available resources, technology and other constraints. Starting this way helps a team select the best idea that came out of their collaboration.

The perfect storm

Encouraging group creativity needs an environment that encourages risk-taking, constructive criticism and teamwork. Creating a culture conducive to creativity must be done intentionally in a way that counteracts personal fears of rejection and tendencies towards self-censorship or criticism. People should be empowered to express themselves.

Establishing three key guidelines is essential:

  1. Focus on the quantity of ideas generated, not their quality.

  2. Avoid criticism, judgment, or defense of ideas during the brainstorming phase.

  3. Don’t put limits on “wild” ideas, no matter how bad, outrageous, or impractical they may seem, and recognize that every idea is worth speaking out.

Beyond groupthink

Brainstorming sessions can be more productive when participants are doing things independent work first.

In a group, this can be done simultaneously over minutes or even days, with team members writing down their ideas individually and later sharing them with the group. This process, known as divergent thinkingcan also be done virtually via collaborative websites like miro, mural and figure. Individual work ensures that everyone contributes ideas and that every voice is heard.

Next comes “convergent thinking.” The group evaluates proposals to determine the best innovation or solution to the problem at hand. It is encouraged to build on someone else’s idea.

There are many other approaches to group brainstorming, such as “design thinking‘, in which quick brainstorming sessions lead to tangible prototypes. That “six thinking hatsIn this method, group members each focus on each aspect of the proposed idea. For example, they will discuss negative aspects, then positives, feelings, risks, and opportunities for each solution.

While brainstorming can sometimes be a tedious process, it promotes the acceptance of ideas and team bonding. And it’s important to remember that in a space where everyone can feel free, good ideas can come from anyone.
The conversation

This article is republished by The conversation under a Creative Commons license. read this original article.

Banner photo credit: PeopleImages/iStock via Getty Images


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