What's the Secret to Better Brainstorming? Ah, the brainstorming session--who came up with the idea for that, anyway? The Esquire guy offers up some advice on how to cultivate better concepts.
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How do you lead a brainstorming meeting? First, forget about the box that, according to generally accepted brainstorming practices, you're supposed to be thinking outside of. The problem with the box is that no one knows how big it is. One person's box could be tiny, another person's box could be big. ("Let's go to another room. The box is too big.") Someone else's box could be so big that inside of the box is everything--including reason, judgment and sanity. ("Dear God, what a box.")
Anyway, the box is stifling. It turns a discussion into an exercise. ("Is this 'outside the box' enough?") And the box denies crucial truths about brainstorming: that there is a goal, and that because of time and money there are always limitations on discussion, even from the very beginning. The box is silly.