Brainstorming has become a popular group technique and has aroused attention in academia. Multiple studies have been conducted to test Osborn’s postulation that brainstorming is more effective than individuals working alone in generating ideas. Some researchers have concluded that the statement is false (brainstorming is not effective), while others uncovered flaws in the research and determined that the results are inconclusive. Furthermore, researchers have made modifications or proposed variations of brainstorming in an attempt to improve the productivity of brainstorming. However, there is no empirical evidence to indicate that any variation is more effective than the original technique.
Nonetheless, brainstorming can be of great utility when the group accounts for, and works to minimize, the group processes that decrease its effectiveness.
Osborn claimed that two principles contribute to "ideative efficacy," these being "1. Defer judgment," and "2. Reach for quantity." Following these principles were his four general rules of brainstorming, established with intention to reduce social inhibitions among group members, stimulate idea generation, and increase overall creativity of the group.
1. Focus on quantity: This rule is a means of enhancing divergent production, aiming to facilitate problem solving through the maxim quantity breeds quality. The assumption is that the greater the number of ideas generated, the greater the chance of producing a radical and effective solution.
2. Withhold criticism: In brainstorming, criticism of... [continues]
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