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Use nominal group technique and time limit brainstorming

· team,to-sort

We often use team to come up with creative insights.

Brainstorming in groups
Independent individual bring more considerably more and better ideas than the same number of individual gathered in a team.

Source: Diehl and Stroebe (1987), Paulus et al. (1993)

"The evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups". Adrian Furnham, Professor of Psychology, University College of London

Why do teams perform worse?

  • Production blocking
  • Evaluation apprehension (fear of judgement)
  • Anchoring (elaborate only on one first idea damaging ideas diversity)
  • Social loafing

Teams are completely oblivious of their bad performance in brainstorming: there is an illusion of group productivity.


  • Solicit creative ideas from teammates individually, before the meeting by email | face to face | surveys.
  • Or at least, ask teammates to think some minutes individually and write their idea on paper.

Nominal group technique

  • Step 1: Each participant works alone to write down his/her individual ideas
  • Step 2: Each participant presents his/her ideas and writes them down on the board (no discussion is allowed until all ideas are on the board)
  • Step 3: After all ideas have been presented, teammates conduct an open discussion of all ideas for clarification purposes only. No evaluative comments allowed.
  • Step 4: Group members vote by secret ballot to rank-order ideas

Time limit

  • Set a tight timeline for a brainstorming session (e.g., 10 minutes)
  • After 10 minutes, challenge your team to double its performance in the next 10 minutes


  • 93% of teams increase per-person productivity
  • Average productivity increase is 57% !

Source: Thompson (2013)