Thursday, January 15, 2009

The apotheosis of dumb.


Or perhaps I should write 'an apotheosis of dumb.'

Today I have just a few words for the banality of brainstorming. Of all the tyrannies perpetrated in our overly-democratic-every-idea-is-a-good-idea age, brainstorming is, perhaps, the most pernicious.

Ideas must run through filters.
They must be bent and twisted and tested and ruminated over before they are aired.

Brainstorming sessions are tonnage sessions most often based on no criteria of good.
The odds of being good at brainstorming are stacked against the scrupulous and thoughtful. The glib love brainstorming because it fills a couple hours and makes
them feel as if they contributed.

But someone saying to Van Gogh 'why don't we use paint,' hasn't really helped matters. Or added anything.

By the way, here is the Wikipedia definition of brainstorming:

"Brainstorming is a group creativity technique designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution of a problem. The method was first popularized in the late 1930s by Alex Faickney Osborn in a book called Applied Imagination. Osborn proposed that groups could double their creative output with brainstorming.[1]

Although brainstorming has become a popular group technique, researchers have not found evidence of its effectiveness for enhancing either quantity or quality of ideas generated."

Most often what we do isn't brainstorming, it's blurt-farting.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

What level of dumbness would you call "brainstorming with the client"? Cause that's the ultimate low.

Tore Claesson said...

Sometimes I enjoy a slight brainbreeze.

geo said...

Anonymous, you win.

Except for maybe listening to the output of focus groups.

MHB said...

here is some good apotheosis to balance the bad.

Anonymous said...

You're right Geo, brainstorms have become a way to generate tonnage--fat decks full of tepid thinking for dumb clients. There is no beating the formula of two guys sitting in a room papered with lines and squiggles, sick of each other, tired of their account, afraid inside that they will fail. And then something happens.

Anonymous said...

A follow up to my first comment here: Our biggest client just informed us that, starting now and as part of their restructuring policy, all projects will begin with a brainstorming session with ALL CLIENTS PRESENT.

If they ask me why I'm staring at the ceiling, will they believe me when I say I'm working?