Research shows there are many psychological processes at work which together limit the effectiveness of brainstorming. ‘Social loafing’ – a group situation encourages and allows individuals to slack off. ‘Evaluation apprehension’ – we’re nervous of being judged by colleagues or looking stupid. ‘Production blocking’ – because only one person can speak at a time in a group, others can forget or reject their ideas while they wait. We’re also learning more about the power of our “herd’ tendencies. As humans, we have innate desires to conform to others with only the slightest encouragement. When asked to think creatively, these implicit norms are invisible but powerful shackles on our ability to think differently.
No wonder so few ideas emerge.