This Explains a Lot: Brainstorming Doesn’t Work

From the Observer:

Research into brainstorming has a clear conclusion. The best way to create is to work alone and evaluate solutions as they occur. The worst way to create is to work in large groups and defer criticism. Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs’s cofounder at Apple and the inventor of its first computer, offers the same advice:

Work alone. You’re going to be best able to design revolutionary products and features if you’re working on your own. Not on a committee. Not on a team.

In my experience, groups are better at thinking of reasons why something won’t work than coming up with ideas that might work.

In the Reformed Tradition (and probably other traditions outside my expertise) we have the idea that the prompting of the Holy Spirit is best discerned in community. (Which is not to say, “in committees.”)

I see that kind of discernment as directional rather than procedural: God tells us to go north instead of south, but generally we can assume that worldly wisdom is sufficient for deciding where and how to cross the river. That sort of everyday creativity echoes the capital-C creativity of God and is, perhaps, partly what is meant when we read that we are made in God’s image, or what Jesus meant by his parable of the talents.


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