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It Turns Out Brainstorming Has NEVER Worked

Marc Andreessen’s blog has an interesting little snippet from the book The Medici Effect boldly stating: Brainstorming Sucks. (I paraphrased for emphasis.)

In a [1987 study, researchers] concluded that brainstorming groups have never outperformed virtual groups. Of the 25 reported experiments by psychologists all over the world, real groups have never once been shown to be more productive than virtual groups. In fact, real groups that engage in brainstorming consistently generate about half the number of ideas they would have produced if the group’s individuals had [worked] alone.

In addition, in the studies where the quality of ideas was measured, researchers found that the total number of good ideas was much higher in virtual groups than in real groups.

It only makes sense to me.  How hard is it to stay on task working by yourself? Now multiply that by the number of people in the meeting.

We already knew that meetings make us dumber. The more people that are present when forming ideas, the less you have time to let them marinate, and it’s this marination time that lets the ideas really evolve.

Check out the rest of the post. It’s an enlightening read for sure.