Brainstorming is an effective tool to mine ideas out of your mind. It helps you explore various, and at times, instantaneous ideas to find creative solutions or business processes. There are two brainstorming methods – individual and group.
Though both of them have their own advantages in terms of providing stimuli for idea generation, people are more creative when they brainstorm on their own rather than in groups. This is because:
- They can drive their own idea generation: In individual brainstorming, people enjoy the flexibility of working at their own pace. They can set their own time and place and work accordingly. People tend to be more creative at certain times and places.Some are at their creative best in the morning, some in the evening, some while drinking coffee, some while traveling, and so on. This is absent in group brainstorming where people are supposed to follow set timelines and places.
- They can avoid blocking ideas: If a group brainstorming session is poorly organized, it can quickly sidetrack the discussion. The participants, especially the reserved and the quiet, can get blocked. They cannot be at their creative best and express ideas in clamorous situations. Individuals do not suffer this constraint when they brainstorm on their own.
- They don’t have to worry about others’ egos: People like to be noticed for their contributions. At times, they tend to go overboard and try to enforce their ideas on others. If ideas come from their superiors, chances are other members will step back from expressing their own, just to avoid a conflict.In addition, in group-thinking sessions, people may feel their ideas are not as good or valuable as those expressed by others. Some ideas are lost this way. It is common for people to be judgmental and quickly step into a discussion over one idea. Though it can be controlled soon, it can affect the output. People are not likely to share their ideas if they feel intimidated.
- They can generate more ideas: In group settings, you cannot expect equal participation from all members. Some people may feel shy to share their crazy or weird ideas. On the other hand, individual brainstorming allows participants to put down all their ideas without hesitation or fear of mockery. It’s possible that these ideas may pave the way for profitable business opportunities or provide more creative solutions.
However, individual brainstorming misses the benefits of shared experience and expertise. No doubt, people can be more creative and generate more ideas when they work on their own because it minimizes distractions. But you can know the applicability of these ideas only when you compare and contrast them with those of others. Thus, mix both individual and group brainstorming techniques judiciously for optimal results.