How To Kill Creativity

Quick Insight

Get a list of ideas from everyone before showing the ideas to the group.

“Decades of research have consistently shown that brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas.” – Keith Sawyer in Explaining Creativity

We have a big decision to make or a strategy to develop. We call a meeting of the company’s owners, employees and/or advisors. We explain the situation and start brainstorming ideas. As the quote above shows, we’ve done this all wrong.

Group discussions limit ideas. People are afraid to raise creative ideas. We want to be accepted by the group and will say things that are safe.

Ask for people to submit ideas before the meeting. Another option is to have everyone write out their ideas in silence during the first minutes of the meeting, submit them anonymously, and have them compiled for the group to review. 

The leader should be very cautious in expressing opinions on ideas. Instead, the leader should always prod the group for people to speak as “devil’s advocate” against ideas that are drawing consensus.

I wish you creativity for the best solutions. I wish you well.

- Rob Stephens

Further Insight

CFO Perspective Resources

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