The Brainwriting Advantage

Kellogg School management faculty have begun promoting brainwriting for idea generation in replacement of brainstorming. In brainwriting, people write their ideas before voicing them.

In her studies, (Leigh) Thompson found that brainwriting groups generated 20% more ideas and 42% more original ideas as compared to traditional brainstorming groups, she writes in her book Creative Conspiracy. "I was shocked to find there's not a single published study in which a face-to-face brainstorming group outperforms a brainwriting group," she said. In Nordgren's research he has found that the process leads to more diverse and candid ideas.

While in brainstorming, only a small minority of groups do 60-70% of the talking and first ideas disproportionately influence and constrict a group's generativity.

I've been using the approach for years with the Agile Canvas and it is magic. My variation is allowing people to either take or write first. It significantly equals the playing field, no one dominates or disappears and quality of ideas increases.