Video: Friday, 9 May 2014
There’s a quick way to increase the number of innovative ideas at work. New research by Associate Professor Daan Stam of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University demonstrates that shortly suspending group debate to reflect and generate ideas individually leads to more ideas and more diverse ideas compared to traditional, continuous group debates. This no-cost, easy-to-deploy method for increasing development productivity has now successfully been tested.
Innovative ideas and high quality concepts are crucial to the successful development of new products. Past research has provided methods to generate good ideas, but these are often costly and difficult to use. According to Daan Stam’s research – in which more than 200 participants took part – suspending group debate to invite individual, silent reflection causes teams to generate more ideas, more original ideas, and more diverse ideas. The results of the research, which was conducted together with Dr Arne de Vet, Professor Harry Barkema, and Professor Carsten de Dreu, show that suspending group debate causes groups to generate 53 per cent more ideas and 47 per cent more categories of ideas. It also results in more original ideas, although this effect is less pronounced.
Suspending group debate simply means taking a break from group discussion so that members can individually and silently gather and process their thoughts, reflect on the problem at hand, and work towards its resolution. Debate is resumed after five minutes and ideas are discussed and eventually integrated collectively into concepts.
This is especially effective because some people, in particular those who have introvert tendencies, have trouble with multitasking and working in noisy environments, both of which are normal in brainstorming sessions. The current research shows the effects of suspending group debate are especially pronounced for groups with one or more introverted members. Considering that many groups have a member that is introverted, suspending group debate is a logical and wise action.
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