Monday, September 19, 2005

Attack, Attack 

Over years of sitting in brainstorm sessions, I have come to dislike them. One can get as many ideas sitting around with a beer in hand than in a formal brainstorming.

There are several reasons for my distaste. Few brainstormings are focused. They ramble from hither to yon but fail to deal with the issue at hand. This is the fault of the brainstorming leader who should work to keep a group on topic but frequently doesn't. Then, there is gamesmanship. Like it or not, one strives to have an original idea at least as much to uphold one's image among peers as to help the topic at hand. But, one person's idea frequently comes at the expense of another's. Or, at least, it seems that way. Here too leaders are supposed to keep egos in check, but too often, they don't. Then, there is pecking order. If a boss sits in on a brainstorming, the boss' idea is always better, even if it is worthless. The rest of the participants are minions yapping like puppies in a kennel. Finally, there are the ideas themselves. It is a truism to say that few good ideas come out of brainstorms. Most of what one hears could have been done sitting at one's desk for an hour and thinking.

Having written all this, I must also write that I have been in brainstorms that were useful, exciting and respectful of everyone in the room. There just hasn't been many of them. Perhaps it is time to give brainstorming a rest in PR.


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