Why Brainstorming Has a Boring Bonus

Insight #191 – Reading time: about 0.8 minutes

“What right answer does he expect from me?” (free public domain: clipart-people.com)

Have you ever wondered why people at work so seldom come up with new ideas? And why brainstorming sessions, supposedly designed to encourage creative thinking, trigger the opposite?

Here’s a hint. What was your first thought at school when your teacher gave you a test or handed out examination questions? Not the answer to the first question, I bet. More likely, you asked yourself another question: “What is the right answer they expect?”

Why was that? Because school learning is based on every question having only one correct answer. You either got it right or not. You learned quickly not to think up new answers. Doing that was plain stupid, because everybody knew that a kid who had right answers was a great kid.

No wonder we have people at work who, when asked to brainstorm or be creative, immediately think, “What’s the right answer my boss expects? And will that get me a good grade, I mean bonus?”

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.