Sunday, October 18, 2015

Intelligent Brainstorming = Thinking Independently, Together

"Intelligent Brainstorming = Thinking Independently, Together"
By: Arin N. Reeves
Nextions 5/29/2012


It is often a debate as to whether brainstorming is better as a group or individually. The debate is difficult because brainstorming in a group setting can lead to groupthink but on the other hand it is usually thought that decisions made as a group are better as an individual. The end result is that the ideal method combines the two strands of brainstorming.

The solution the author comes up with and implements in their work is the IGLAD idea generation model. IGLAD stands for Individual.Group.Leadership.Analysis.Decision; it is the author's proposed method for combining individual brainstorming with group brainstorming. The process begins with a group setting a goal, with the idea that goal-setting will help prevent fixation on one common method or idea. The next step is for members to individually generate ideas anonymously and then post them somewhere to undergo group review. Once the group vetting is complete, the process then goes to the leadership. The leaders take into account the group's preferences and decide which methods are the most suitable. The leadership's choice(s) are then sent to the group to undergo analysis and then a final decision(s) is finalized.


The main critique I have is the dependency on leadership. In some groups there is not a true leadership hierarchy and this method does not take that into account. I would also say that this model is dependent on strong leadership, this model would fail miserably without proper guidance. The other weakness in my opinion is that the practicality of implementing anonymity in some group settings. While that would be ideal it can be hard in many scenarios to implement that. My final criticism is that I think for some leaders they have the final say and that in most cases after the group delivers its recommendations it is up to the leader to have final say on the matter. 


  1. Does the article suggest how ideas undergo group review? If groups were to openly debate each point, the review could easily be dominated by some members or run the risk of groupthink. I also noticed that IGLAD seems similar to nominal group technique with the addition of anonymity and the subtraction of round-robin speaking turns. If the group review was not similarly anonymous as the initial individual work, utilizing round-robin speaking turns could help placate issues with groupthink or dominate personalities.

    1. No it didn't really. It kinda gave the impression of using a message board where members hash it out but it wasn't very clear on the exact preferred way to do that.

  2. Dillon, I think this resembles to the co-acting groups' functioning style that you may remember from Hackman. Therefore, I am not sure whether to name this as brainstorming. Because, shouldn't there be at least a group interaction at the phase of classifying everyone's ideas into meaningful subcategories in brainstorming?

    1. There is group interaction, it just follows the individual brainstorming segment.