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The Brainstorming Process Is B.S. But Can We Rework It?

The Brainstorming Process Is B.S. But Can We Rework It?
The business practice of brainstorming has been around with us so long that it seems like unadorned common sense: If you want a rash of new ideas, you get a group of people in a room, have them shout things out, and make sure not to criticize, because that sort of self-censoring is sure to kill the flow of new thoughts. It wasn’t always so: This entire process was invented by Alex Osborn, one of the founders of BBDO, in the 1940's. It was motivated by Osborn’s own theory of creativity. He thought, quite reasonably, that creativity was both brittle and fickle: In the presence of criticism, it simply couldn’t wring itself free from our own minds. We could only call our muses if judgments didn’t drag us down. Osborn claimed that this very brainstorming process was the secret to BBDO’s durable creativity, allowing his ad guys to produce as many as 87 ideas in 90 minutes--a veritable avalanche. You’re More Creative Working Alone Lehrer doesn’t quite explain why that happens. Why is that? Related:  Collaboration

Websites Let People Farm Out Chores Brainstorming Doesn’t Really Work In the late nineteen-forties, Alex Osborn, a partner in the advertising agency B.B.D.O., decided to write a book in which he shared his creative secrets. At the time, B.B.D.O. was widely regarded as the most innovative firm on Madison Avenue. Born in 1888, Osborn had spent much of his career in Buffalo, where he started out working in newspapers, and his life at B.B.D.O. began when he teamed up with another young adman he’d met volunteering for the United War Work Campaign. “Your Creative Power” was filled with tricks and strategies, such as always carrying a notebook, to be ready when inspiration struck. The book outlined the essential rules of a successful brainstorming session. Brainstorming was an immediate hit and Osborn became an influential business guru, writing such best-sellers as “Wake Up Your Mind” and “The Gold Mine Between Your Ears.” The underlying assumption of brainstorming is that if people are scared of saying the wrong thing, they’ll end up saying nothing at all.

Giving Constructive Feedback Performance feedback can be given two ways: through constructive feedback or through praise and criticism. Don't fall into the trap of giving praise and criticism on employee performance. Constructive feedback is information-specific, issue-focused, and based on observations. Positive feedback is news or input to an employee about an effort well done. Negative feedback is news to an employee about an effort that needs improvement. The guidelines for giving constructive feedback fall into four categories: content, manner, timing, and frequency. Content Content is what you say in the constructive feedback. In your first sentence, identify the topic or issue that the feedback will be about.Provide the specifics of what occurred. Without the specifics, you only have praise or criticism. Manner Manner is how you say the constructive feedback. Timing Timing answers this question: When do you give an employee feedback for a performance effort worth acknowledging? Frequency

The Penguin and The Leviathan: How Cooperation Triumphs Over Self Interest I am enjoying hearing about this new book Yochai Benkler from Harvard University, also author of the Wealth of Networks. The argument he makes is that humans are not purely self-interested creatures. In this interview the question is asked "How did we even get ourselves into a position where we have to make that argument?" Benkler replies "If we look at the 40 year trajectory you might think of as scientific selfishness. Benkler goes on to describe how the rise of this thinking coincides with the period of the cold war and that these clash of ideologies - principally collectivism and capitalism, made it easy to adopt the model because we had a 'then and us' situation. The case that Benkler makes is not entirely new - but I like the way that he describes his thinking and I do think that this book makes a hugely valuable contribution to trying to shift the mindset away from designing policy and systems which call on the more negative human qualities.

Five Millennial Myths If you believe the conventional wisdom, everyone under the age of 30 is needy and narcissistic. They want the corner office and a company car, but they aren’t truly committed to their organization. They don’t take kindly to criticism, but can be easily won over with the next hot gadget. Such stereotypes of millennials abound, and some may have a degree of truth. But as this massive cohort enters the workforce in increasing numbers, can companies afford to put their trust in these types of characterizations? I’ve seen many corporate leaders and human resources departments twist themselves in knots trying to accommodate what media and marketers have told them are the preferences of this new generation of employees. For the past 12 years, I have studied the so-called generation gap through empirical research, and have found that stereotypes of millennials in the workplace are inconsistent at best and destructive at worst. Myth #1: Millennials don’t want to be told what to do.

50 Open Source Technologies / Projects to Look Out For in 2012 The open source movement continues to strengthen every year, such that no matter who you are, what software you use, what book you read, whatever you do somewhere along the line open source software is in use. Apache continues to be the most popular web server, the public domain SQLite lies deep within nearly every mobile OS, and any software that deals with lots of data. Firefox and Chrome, both open source -- although to different extents -- now make up for a majority of the internet populace. It’s safe to say the open source movement has been a huge success. 2011 has been a good year for open source, and now we look forward to what we think are some important things to look out for in 2012 in the field of open source. HTML5 / CSS3 / JavaScript etc. A number of standards are emerging that make 2012 an interesting year for web standards. Mozilla Boot2Gecko WebAPI WordPress Wordpress' meteoric rise is far from over. Django Apache Flex Mozilla Firefox Google Chrome Apache Callback jQuery Mobile

You're Hired. Now Figure Things Out (With The Help Of This Whimsical Handbook) In Douglas Adams’ famous book series, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, space traveler Arthur Dent carries with him a galactic guidebook with the two words on the cover: “Don’t Panic.” Solid advice for a hapless spaceman. And perhaps for new hires, too. On the first day of work, employees at Valve Software are handed a 56-page employee handbook (which hit the Internet this week, and where we got the illustrations in this story) and a desk with wheels. For many, the first few days at a new job feel like life on a new planet. Valve, maker of popular video games like Half-Life and Portal, hires at least two or three new people each month, according to product designer and founding team member Greg Coomer. Does Valve's employee handbook make you jealous? If you find yourself walking down the hall one morning with a bowl of fresh fruit and Stumptown-roasted espresso, dropping off your laundry to be washed, and heading into one of the massage rooms, don’t freak out.

About « The polymath blog About This group blog, together with its associated wiki, is intended to host “polymath” projects – massively collaborative mathematical research projects. The ground rules for such projects can be found here. Note that LaTeX is supported in the comments of this blog. Unfortunately, comment editing and preview is not available; you will need to contact a moderator or administrator to fix a comment. Discussion on the design and format of polymath projects can be made here. If you wish to make your own polymath project proposal, you can either make your own blog post for the proposal (and, if it is a wordpress blog, use the tag or category “polymath proposals” so that it will show up in this list), or to put it on this wiki page. To follow this blog in a feed aggregator using RSS, use the link The administrators of this blog are Like this: Like Loading...

Owning Your Words: Personal Clouds Build Professional Reputations | Cloudline 'Tune into Radio and Experience the Power and Freedom of Desktop Web Publishing,' reads Radio UserLand's site. Image: Courtesy of Radio UserLand When the blogosphere booted up at the turn of the century, I’d already been publishing online for years. So personal publishing wasn’t a revelation to me, though I knew it would be for many who hadn’t experienced it yet. I knew how “pub/sub” could knit together software systems made of “loosely coupled” parts. When Twitter came along years later there was much fanfare about a supposedly newfangled pattern called asymmetric follow. My first blogging platform was Dave Winer’s Radio UserLand. This cross-blog conversational mode had an interesting property: You owned your words. The problem with cross-blog conversation was that it was too loosely coupled. Could we have the best of both worlds? Admittedly there would be challenges. There are also huge opportunities. The web, like many technologies, evolves cyclically.

12 Most Beneficial People-Skills to Hit the Bullseye When You Have No Power Success in companies requires working across the organization in collaboration with others throughout the globe. Purely hierarchical approaches continue to erode. As a result, staff must often hit the bullseye without the power or authority to call the shots. New grads entering the workforce in search of the hidden rules, seasoned professional grappling with the evolving non-hierarchical approach, and the growing contractor population suddenly thrust into new organizations — you all find yourselves in this position. Fear not. As The People-Skills Coach™, I have used these skills to quickly connect with clients and hit the bullseye for 23 years. 1. To accomplish goals and hit the bulls-eye with other people, turn the obstacles of diversity into advantages. Whether you are working with a new boss, acting as a meeting facilitator, or working on a project team, your willingness and ability to understand and adapt to others gives you great influence in reaching the desired goal. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The ethics of recycling content: Jonah Lehrer accused of self-plagiarism Editor's Note, July 30: Jonah Lehrer has recently admitted that he fabricated some of the quotes attributed to Bob Dylan in his book Imagine. As a result, its publisher has stopped its sale while it determines whether further steps are needed. Although this is separate from the issue of self-plagiarism, it does suggest a wider disregard for publishing ethics. Jonah Lehrer has long been one of the rising stars of the science writing world. I was a huge fan of his work when he wrote for Wired (a sister publication of Ars) and was happy when he recently left for the New Yorker full-time (again, another Conde Nast publication). That continued rise might be imperiled now, however, after the discovery of several instances of Lehrer re-using earlier work he did for a different publication. A day later, and the Twittersphere being what it is, there's been much discussion on the topic. The thing is, this isn't a once-size-fits-all problem. To the first crowd: no, this isn't the same thing.

OuiShare - Creative community for the Collaborative Economy Frog Creates An Open-Source Guide To Design Thinking Brainstorming, whether you believe in it or shun it, is a fantastic neologism. But as Frog Principal Designer David Sherwin has found, it’s also a very American word--one that doesn’t exist in every language. “We were in Bangladesh, trying to translate the idea into Bengali,” says Sherwin, remembering a recent trip his team spent working with teenage girls on community issues. Sherwin’s experience touches on a crucial problem for many NGOs and foundations attempting to transpose Western methods of social innovation to other cultures. Today, Frog will release the Collective Action Toolkit, a free, 72-page booklet that seeks to develop a universal framework for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds to tackle big problems in their communities. Sherwin and Fabricant didn’t set out to build the Toolkit--in fact, it grew out of a separate project that clearly demonstrated its necessity. Check out the Collective Action Toolkit for yourself here.

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