In the Media

Brainstorming doesn’t work – Do this instead

Looking for new solutions to your problems? Get everyone together and start tossing out ideas!

That’s the common method: Group brainstorming.

But it doesn’t work. Group brainstorming is not the best path to better ideas, Keith Sawyer, the Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations, says in an article published by

Sawyer recounts in his book “Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration” an experiment in which students were put into groups or left to their own devices to solve puzzles. It turns out that the students who worked alone found twice as many solutions as the groups did. Plus, the solo problem solvers’ solutions were judged more “feasible” and “effective” by judges.

In his book, Sawyer says brainstorming remains popular because it carries the illusion of being effective. Members of brainstorming groups report enjoying high-energy conversation and laughter, causing people to see the activity as being more effective than it really is, Sawyer says.

Read the article here.

Read an excerpt of Sawyer’s book “Group Genius” where he talks about research on brainstorming here.