Tuesday, February 18, 2014



Susan Cain, in her book, Quiet (see 02/02/2014, post 34), lists the four rules applied to group brainstorming sessions.  She then presents evidence that collective work of individuals done independently provides more creative solutions than come from similar numbers working in a group brainstorming session.  Since the individuals use quiet reflection by themselves it hardly merits a term, individual brainstorming.  But I have used the term individual brainstorming or solitary brainstorming in my past thinking about the topic.

Nine months ago (05/02/2013) my third post listed mental manipulations that might help one do solitary brainstorming.  Creative solutions may come best in quiet situations because the left brain and right brain can work more effectively.  Before you can optimize a thought in a group situation another's contribution may derail the thought.  We can't truly work at a high level on all things when we are multi-tasking.  One line of evidence is the rise in automobile accidents when the drivers talk, text, eat, read or listen.  Beginning teen-age drivers have progressively higher accident rates as more peers ride with them.

One of the biggest reason's noted by Cain for group brainstorming not being as effective as expected is the conscious or subconscious fear of criticism of one's contribution, even though criticism is against the brain-storming rules.

As noted above, coordination of left and right brain hemispheres may be made more difficult in a group setting.  But quiet brainstorming doesn't work in a vacuum, or more accurately, with a paucity of knowledge, experience, and ideas.  Some of the best stimulation of that type can come from interaction with peers, either at meetings of those with like interests, or reading what they have to say.  Meetings may have a benefit not found in brainstorming, of questions, comments, and clarification if needed.


Try to be creative, but be relaxed about it.

Question things, but don't be disagreeable.

Broaden your perspective or widen your interests, solutions are often by analogy to a principle of some other topic.

Humor in your life may make it easier for you to make unlikely mental connections.

If you prime your mind to think about something when you sleep, keep a notepad and pencil handy to make a note if it wakes you up; it will make it easier to get back to sleep.

Believe in causality, expect answers or causes for everything of concern.

Don't forget adequate quality rest, nutrition, exercise, and contact with others.


Yesterday I was reading comments readers of Cain's book left online at the Barnes and Noble Nook Store.  The comments were very positive in general from both introverts and extroverts.  One very critical one seemed to be a result of professional jealousy.  But the sense of relief many expressed at finding a positive view of their introversion seemed counterbalanced by a view that they were trapped, but now comfortably, in their introversion.  I do not think they are trapped, as you can see from the conclusion of my blog posted on 2/2/2014.

Joseph G. Engemann         February 18, 2014

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