By April 28, 2010 Read More →

Brainstorming via Texting?

It’s easy to feel inhibited when brainstorming in groups.  What if your idea is considered stupid?  What if, at the moment, you have no ideas to offer?

So it’s important to create an oasis of trust when brainstorming in public.

This is no easy feat, but it can be achieved by working in small teams.

I’ve always liked the idea of working in groups of two, a classic model in advertising agencies in which art directors and copywriters work as a unit.  This allows brainstorming to be more of a conversation and less of a performance.

But we often want to work in larger groups.  When this is the case, I recommend having a facilitator to lead the group, someone who  has no direct stake in the project, and can guide the discussion without being distracted by politics or ego-trips.

But i just discovered a new way this morning, as I was delivering one of my seminars at NYU’s Stern School of Business.

One of the students described a brainstorming session he had attended. Rather than offering up ideas by talking, through the use of new technology the participants effectively texted their ideas to a facilitator who then posted them to a whiteboard in front of the group.

By remaining anonymous, the brainstormers felt liberated.  Moreover, the facilitator had the option to edit out any negative comments that might be inhibiting.

I must admit that it seems a little strange to imagine a brainstorming session that’s silent except for the gentle clicking of Blackberry keyboards.

But why not?

Texting instead of talking is may be a brilliantly innovative approach to the creative process itself.

In a way it allows us to work alone while simultaneously collaborating with others, enjoying the advantages of both.

If any of you have brainstormed in this way, please let us know how it worked out.

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