Stop Brainstorming and Start Doing: Why Idea Generation Fails

Brainstorming Doesn’t Work

LinkedIn has an interesting post about why brainstorming doesn’t work.  The author, , shares his experiences managing idea generation at Google.

He has also written a book on the topic: The Sprint Book

The Sprint Book
The Sprint Book

Bottom line: less brainstorming and more building.  Generate some ideas and then do a five-day POC.  You will get much more done and actually be more creative.

This is a concept I was acquainted with several years ago and a lesson I am still trying to learn.

When I started at in 2008 I was an ambitious but uninformed software developer.  I mentioned something to the owner about me being an “idea guy”, like that was some unique thing.  He said “let me show you something.” And walked me into a conference room completely wallpapered with full-color printouts of hundreds of ideas they had generated during brainstorming sessions.  Basically he was telling me “You are a one of a kind idea guy…just like everybody else.”  He followed-up with some coaching.  In particular…we all have ideas but we don’t all execute on them.  It’s one thing to talk about stuff and another to actually do stuff.

At the time I didn’t fully understand what he was telling me but the longer I have worked in the software industry the more his comments make sense.

To the point of the article: I like the concept of the 5 day POC sprint.  It’s the whole point of being an agile organization.  Don’t just sit around being idea guys and instead try out a bunch of stuff and see what works.