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Chapter 4: From Groupthink to Group Genius

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by

Sandy Lynne

on 15 June 2013

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Transcript of Chapter 4: From Groupthink to Group Genius

From Groupthink to Group Genius
How might we generate the best quality of ideas through brainstorming and collaboration?
Brainstorming Principals
No criticism; put off judgement until you have finished generating ideas
Let ideas flow freely--the more creative and obscure, the better
Quantity is key--the more you think up, the more likely you are to find "the one"
Look for ways to improve and combine previous ideas
Dilemmas with Brainstorming and Collaboration
How do we ensure that a group's ideas do not end up being more unintelligent than an individual's?
Fixing Brainstorming
By the 1980s, researchers agreed that the original brainstorming design was not very good at generating new designs. It was, however, good at evaluating ideas.
The term "brainstorming" has been used for many years and in a variety of contexts.
According to Keith Sawyer in "Group Genius", brainstorming occurs when "ideas are kept flowing and critical analysis is put off for later."
First Study of Osborn's Techniques: Yale University in 1958
Nominal Groups
Success!
What does it all mean?
48 people were recruited into 12 four-person groups.
Groups were given rules of brainstorming and three problems to solve.
After the 48 individual subjects had finished their problems, they were assigned to four-person groups
Researches recruited 48 more people to work alone on the same problems.
The nominal groups generated almost twice as many ideas with higher quality ideas in general.
The rules of brainstorming work best when people use them alone first and come together after having time to process independently.
It is of the utmost importance that groups be told explicitly to generate ideas that are imaginative, unique, and valuable.
Fixing Brainstorming 101
Put an End to Production Blocking!
Stop Social Inhibition
Say No to Social Loafing!
Group members must listen closely to other people's ideas, and therefore they have less mental energy for their own individual ideas. Groups must not be composed of large numbers of people. Beware of topic fixation.
A group member may hold back for fear of what others in the group may think. It is important to create an environment where group members feel equal and have a facilitator present so that no one holds back.
When people feel that they are not held accountable for their ideas, they do not seem to work as hard.
How do we make thought collaboration productive and of a superior quality?
We get rid of groupthink.
We improvise and add complexity
Reward Group Genius
Add Diversity
In a 1972 book by Irving Janis, he created the term "groupthink" to illustrate those situations where a group ends up doing something dumber than individual workers.
The set of sub-tasks that a group takes on isn't known at the beginning. Division of labor emerges as a natural process.
We often think of collaboration as a verbal task. Don't forget to add spatial, visual, and physical aspects to the mix!
Every group needs a variety of skills, knowledge, and perspective.
Ensure "flow factors" are present. Members of a group need to have some degree of shared knowledge and well-outlined goals.
It is difficult to measure the contributions of individuals in a collaborative group.
It is therefore important to put group rewards in place.
In Closing...
Although there are possible risks to working in groups, there are also many wonderful and monumental successes to be made from collaboration.
Enjoy some of my favorite improvised collaboration in this video.
"Your own mind
is more social than you
realize." -Keith Sawyer
Full transcript