Q. Does collaboration help or hinder the development of ideas?
A. Ideas get a better boost when the group is using different minds to brainstorm and think about it. The first part of this process, solo thinking sessions can be hard for some people because their thoughts might not flow as well without someone else’s input. But once they are done with that step, bringing other members into the mix will yield much more creative ideas since everyone in attendance has access to new inputs which would work together beautifully!
When brainstorming a new product, individual work is most effective. Solitary people generate longer and better lists than those in groups but the majority of problems are more complex that can only be solved by coming up with whole systems together. Dr. R Keith Sawyer professor of psychology at the University of Washington states “Solitary people generate long and deep ideas while working individually on their own.”
When individuals think about things alone they have access to deeper thoughts that might not come out when collaborating as well as other benefits like being able to explore many different avenues for solutions before settling down onto one idea or option
For the best results, ask people to do advanced work on their own and bring those ideas to a brainstorming session. “You benefit from a kind of synergy where one person might have a good idea about one component but be clueless about the rest of the system,” Sawyer says, “and another person can be inspired by that and have an idea about how those components will work together.” Just beware of ‘topic fixation,’ characterized as when groups get stuck on just 1 topic at the cost or come up with other creative notions.
The perfect brainstorming session is a real balancing act. Research shows that not more than 10 people should participate, but you’ll get the most out of your creativity if there are more than two individuals in the room with different backgrounds and expertise because it gives everyone’s brain an opportunity to contribute ideas. Make sure at least one person has experience as a designer or engineer–after all, these groups have brains full of creative concepts!
According to Sawyer, self-conscious thought can be the key in generating new ideas. “In creativity research, we call that ‘incubation,'” he says. As your subconscious mind continues working on information gathered during a meeting or brainstorming session, it is not uncommon for surprising and innovative solutions to appear when least expected!
Hallway encounters can be the best ideas, but some CEOs prefer to make way for them. In his book “How Will You Measure Your Life?” author Clayton M. Christensen asks readers how many of their most creative solutions happened while they were just daydreaming or having a casual chat with someone? 3M’s Art Fry was talking about an adhesive he wanted to take market when he had one such run-in in the church choir on Sunday after meeting at 3M and came up with Post-It Notes idea which has been around since 1974!