The Meeting or a brainstorming session is a well accepted technique to come together in a room for idea generation. I have participated in these sessions many times and have come out of it feeling ‘time well spent’, I am sure you too have.
Of many observations, I want to talk about the small problem of ‘herd mentality’, and how it might affect the outcome in a big way.
a) An idea put on the board blocks others to think in different direction.
b) Pressure to generate idea might make one agree of someone else’s idea.
c) A wrong belief might set in - if most of us are thinking in one direction then that must be the correct direction.
“Iraq has weapons of mass destruction” – Half the world believed so at one point of time.
“Kashmir is root for the India Pakistan problem” – All the Pakistan rulers say this as part of their swearing in.
“The foam rupture is too small to create any problem for NASA’s Challenger” – The statement issued by the top management, engineers on the ground kept mum.
Back to our professional world, many of you must have overcome challenges in groupthinking.
What if everybody can contribute their ideas privately, then everybody gets a peak into everybody else’s ideas privately; say everybody has to support two ideas, one of that could be their own. Brainstorming happens for the top supported ideas, for additional ideas, to take the top ideas to the next level of details, and on how it needs to be executed. Doing this might eliminate the issues of herd mentality mentioned above.
“Individuality into the group thinking” is better than plain “individual thinking” or plain “group thinking”.
Check it out; your group may not think that groupthink is a problem!