When many companies want to plot a strategy or tackle a problem, their first impulse is to begin brainstorming solutions to the issue. They believe that when everyone throws out random ideas, they will eventually end up with something that works.
But research is showing that brainstorming may not be as effective as companies seem to think.
People believe it will generate an array of new ideas, but what often happens instead is that it tends to narrow the thinking of the group, which ends up coalescing around one dominant idea that often is not the best solution to the problem.
Another problem is that power relationships can get in the way. A brainstorming group may have both junior and senior members. It usually turns out that the senior members contribute more ideas than the junior members, who defer to their superiors, when the junior people may have ideas that are just as good.
And finally, brainstorming requires creativity on demand. But creativity is not something that can be summoned at a moment’s notice. Often, a creative solution takes time, a period of gestation, and often comes when we least expect.
Other Ways to Improve Creativity
1. Involve more people
Don’t limit input to just people you believe have special expertise in an area. For example, if you have a problem related to a financial situation, bring in people outside of the finance department for input – people in marketing, sales, human resources, production, and legal.
The greater the diversity of people, the greater the diversity of ideas and opinions you will get. You will get new and fresh perspectives on the problem.
2. Hire for diversity
To spark creativity, you need to bring together people of different viewpoints and backgrounds. That is why having a diverse workforce is essential. If all of your hires come from the same background, they are more apt to think alike.
3. Allow for free time at work
No one can work intently for eight hours a day without breaks. That is why companies like Google give their workers time during the day when they can indulge their interests and their creative side. It’s time where they can let their minds wander and try out new ideas and follow their instincts.
This not only helps to enhance creativity but productivity as well.