I’m continuing to read and love Jonah Leherer‘s book, “Imagine: How Creativity Works.” His discussion of research on “brainstorming” versus discussions that involve debate and critique are particularly insightful. In the past, I just assumed “the right way” to generate ideas in class or in another group was to follow “traditional” rules of brainstorming, where all ideas are accepted neutrally and not criticized. Now I’m reconsidering that assumption. Leherer writes:

…when all new ideas are equally useful, as in a brainstorming session—we stay within ourselves. There is no incentive to think about someone else’s thoughts or embrace unfamiliar possibilities. And so the problem remains impossible. The absence of criticism has kept us all in the same place.

He supports this idea with citations from research articles as well as lots of stories, including several from Pixar. I’m rethinking my own use of traditional “brainstorming rules” as a result.

Fortune Brainstorm Green 2012

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Check out other Leherer quotations I’ve liked by searching my Tweet Nest Twitter archive for “@jonahlehrer”.


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