Brainstorming Might Hinder Great Ideas

You walk past a group of employees gathered in one of your company’s meeting rooms, laptops and notepads are strewn along a table the size of a small state.

There are charts and graphs and PowerPoint presentations and three-quarters of the people in the room have a hand in the air. There’s a lot of brainstorming going on here, you think to yourself.

According to a story at, that’s not necessarily the case, say two Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania operations and information management professors, who claim such brainstorming sessions can actually put a crimp in the original thought process.

In a paper called “Idea Generation and the Quality of the Best Idea,” Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich, along with co-author Karan Girotra, professor of technology and operations management at INSEAD, suggest that corporate brainstorming is the enemy of innovation–whether that be the development of a life-changing commercial product, a new methodology that saves the company tons of money or a marketing plan that promises to draw in new clients from every conceivable demographic profile.

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