Forty Uses For A Brick

Open Source Innovation has moved – here is the new link to Forty Uses For A Brick.


3 Responses

  1. The brick example is simple and effective–like a brick. I would expect if you separated the brainstorming team to work independently you would find they would produce more and better quality ideas than if they worked in a team.

    I look forward to the more meaty strategic business plan.


  2. Grant, thanks for the comment. This is not the first time I’ve heard this criticism levelled at brainstorming. The study you cite is not available on the internet but I did find a discussion of it here:,M1

    The study itself apparently does little more than collectively assess a bunch of prior studies. But without seeing how the prior studies were performed it’s difficult to say if we are comparing apples and oranges. I expect that we are because the book I referenced mentioned brainwriting as an alternative to brainstorming – yet in creative problem solving both brainstorming and brainwriting are individual tools, as are forced connections, challenging assumptions, etc. Brainstorming is a mere subset of CPS – group facilitation takes people who have no creative thinking experience and applies these tools in a time-limited session.

    There are positives to be sure associated with individual creativity. And if you had a group of people trained in creative thinking techniques it’s very possible that a preliminary virtual session would produce excellent results, especially in the area of problem finding. Even IDEO takes a lot of time before brainstorming to define the problem in smaller groups and individually.

    But the problems with group dynamics you discuss are largely addressed by Myers-Briggs and KAI grouping. For instance, if I want to generate a lot of novel ideas I’ll get a group of xNxPs with KAIs over 96. If I want to generate ideas to improve efficiency, effectiveness, etc I’ll get a group of xSxJs with KAIs below 96. Grouping by MBTI and KAI improve group performance and teamwork, especially when it comes to developing solutions.

  3. […] in September I posted an example of how to use creative thinking techniques to proliferate ideas. “Forty Uses For A Brick” became one of my most popular articles. I promised to give an example of how to apply these same […]

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