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Diamond Ideas Blog


Brainstorming v. Brainwriting

We’ve all thrown spaghetti at a wall, but usually, by the time it sticks, it’s pretty overdone. Unfortunately, group brainstorming is a pretty synonymous experience. 

Brainstorming can be hectic and overstimulating, but its main flaw- and less-obvious effect- is that its results are often confusing and convoluted, because once politics and social dynamics get involved in ideation, we can’t see the spaghetti for the wall anymore: We don’t know why we think an idea is good. Is it because it came from the loudest person in the room?

Or because the idea came from the voice of a colleague you also consider a friend? Were we biased toward the ideas of a boss or trusted figure? Or did we simply, selfishly want our own idea to weather the brainstorm and emerge as the ultimate and best? 

Maybe all of the above. 

But the magnetism of brainstorming is born out of the fact that often the best ideas are not our own. Enter: Brainwriting. Brainwriting is a tactic your team can use to avoid this when problem-solving as a group.

Here’s a quick how-to:

  • Each team member ideates asynchronously 

  • Everyone writes down the best idea from their individual brainstorming sessions

  • The team engineers a way to share them anonymously with all members

  • Each team member absorbs each idea asynchronously

  • Individual team members nominate their favorite idea or solution 

  • These nominated solutions are the ones you discuss democratically when the group convenes 

Brainwriting may sound weird or cringy! But it's a time-efficient tool that experts and researchers recommend because it allows us to parse out the best ideas from every individual on our team– and from the team as a whole. It may take a little planning or intention, but it won’t actually take more time.

Plus, you can think of it as having a killer ROI, because the ideas that manifest after brainwriting will save you in the long run. After all, spaghetti that’s been thrown at a wall just isn’t great spaghetti- not anymore.

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