Brainstorming works best in less specialized efforts, study says

December 10, 2009,

Applying brainstorming techniques to new product development works best when the collaboration employs participants from varied specialties gathering to develop a less complex product, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

When new products will be highly technical, a better way to develop them is for specialists to do their work in private and collaborate through 'nominal' groups, the study says.

"The Effects of Problem Structure and Team Diversity on Brainstorming Effectiveness" is by Stylianos Kavadias of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Svenja C. Sommer of HEC Paris.

Management Insights, a regular feature of the journal, is a digest of important research in business, management, operations research, and . It appears in every issue of the monthly journal.

Since the 1950s, the effectiveness of brainstorming has been widely debated. While some researchers and practitioners consider it the standard idea generation and problem solving method in organizations, part of the social science literature has argued in favor of nominal groups, in which the same number of individuals generate solutions in isolation.

The authors revisit this debate and explore the implications that the underlying problem structure and the team diversity have on the quality of the best solution as obtained by the different group configurations.

They conclude that nominal groups perform better in specialized , even when the factors that affect the solution quality exhibit complex interactions (problem complexity). In cross-functional problems, the brainstorming group exploits the competence diversity of its participants to attain better solutions.

More information: The current issue of Management Insights is available at mansci.journal.informs.org/cgi/reprint/55/12/iv

Source: Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (news : web)

Explore further: Diverse skills, personalities aid top management teams -- up to a point

Related Stories

Nuanced case for outsourcing by automakers

December 30, 2008

Automakers who favor the flexibility and price savings of outsourcing production must weigh carefully the product life cycle implications of sacrificing in-house manufacturing, according to the Management Insights feature ...

Recommended for you

New ancestor of modern sea turtles found in Alabama

April 18, 2018

A sea turtle discovered in Alabama is a new species from the Late Cretaceous epoch, according to a study published April 18, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Drew Gentry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, ...

New study improves 'crowd wisdom' estimates

April 18, 2018

In 1907, a statistician named Francis Galton recorded the entries from a weight-judging competition as people guessed the weight of an ox. Galton analyzed hundreds of estimates and found that while individual guesses varied ...

Team discovers mysterious head of a pharaoh

April 17, 2018

Swansea University Egyptology lecturer Dr Ken Griffin has found a depiction of one of the most famous pharaoh's in history Hatshepsut (one of only a handful of female pharaohs) on an object in the Egypt Centre stores, which ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.