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Creativity Comments by Winston J. Brill, Ph.D.

06/02 Creativity Comment

How Important is Idea Quantity?

Many people claim that, for a particular problem, the more ideas on the table, the greater the quality of the best idea.  With that rationale, it then makes sense to use various techniques, such as formal brainstorming, that have a goal of initially producing a long list of ideas. 

But why did none of the 350 great ideas in Comment 04/01 arise during such exercises?  About one third of the organizations involved had experts trained in these many-idea-gathering techniques. 

Check around your organization.  Which individuals, or groups, have made the most important contributions?  Ask if the key ideas leading to these contributions arose during a session that involved piling up a great many ideas.  Did the most significant ideas in your organization share space on the whiteboard with a long list of other ideas?

The most creative people Iíve managed werenít necessarily the ones who offered the most ideas. Iím not convinced that effort directed specifically to generate many ideas is effort that leads to great ideas.

What is your experience?  

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