To keep pace with the ever-changing insurance landscape and customer expectations, chances are that your organization has used (and been disappointed with) brainstorming tools.We’ve developed a better way to co-create solutions that is repeatable, reliable and efficient.
Brainstorming as a business tool has been around since at least the 1950s, and its core concept is simple: we’re smarter together than any one of us is on our own. But while these sessions can leave participants feeling energized, research shows that they often don’t have the lasting, positive impact we hoped for. For example, a study of over 800 teams published in the Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology found that brainstorming groups were significantly less productive in terms of both quantity and quality than individuals working on their own.
We’ve probably all experienced some of the more obvious pitfalls of brainstorming:
- The loudest voice often dominates the room, making quieter, more reflective participants reluctant to offer their ideas.
- Looking for a “quick win”, the group may focus on the “low hanging fruit,” ignoring the more complex – and more important – topics.
- One naysayer in the group can spoil the whole dynamic, while conversely, a group made up entirely of optimists can come up with a wide range of exciting but unworkable ideas.
- Having a variety of participants from different backgrounds can help the group understand the challenge holistically, but when these participants don’t speak the same language, e.g., the CFO and the Director of Customer Experience, communication breaks down.
- An imbalance of power can also lead to undue weight being given to the opinions of the highest ranking person in the room. This is especially a problem when this individual is a “hit and run” contributor, popping their head in to give an opinion and then disappearing again.
- In this age of smartphones and tablets, getting any group of people to stay focused for long is an uphill battle.
- Most brainstorming sessions/groups last only long enough to come up with ideas, not long enough to flesh them out. When these ideas get handed off to working groups, they can easily morph back into something that more closely resembles business as usual.
To be sure, brainstorming can work for smaller decisions such as coming up with a name for a new product, creating a list of potential speakers for your next conference or deciding where to go for lunch. But when it comes to transforming your business, it can fall short.