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Strategic Consultant with HYPE Innovation, helping enterprises get more value from their innovation programs. Firm believer in the concept of jobs-to-be-done, which stresses the importance of understanding customers' wants and needs. Also sports a 2:57 marathon PR. Dad to two awesome kids.

3 responses to “Study – Distributed Idea Generation Outperforms Team Brainstorming”

  1. Joanne Daudier

    The hybrid process may generate better ideas, but that due to the noisy selection process, its relative advantage is much diminished…

    Then what is the optimal way to rank or determine the best ideas?

  2. Hutch Carpenter

    Hi Joanne –

    I think it’s important to understand the “noisy” part of the in-person process. Group dynamics can undercut the hard work of getting the good ideas.

    What would be better? Let people step away from the process. On their own they can decide which ideas have the most merit. From the study, there’s a tantalizing finding (pg 19 of 41):

    “In further analysis, we compared the self evaluation provided in the individual phase of the hybrid treatment to the independent judges’ quality ratings, and find that these individual ratings are better predictors of ―true quality‖ than are either of the group evaluations, lending further support to the idea that some aspect of the group interaction leads to poor assessments of quality.”

    In other words, people were better off assessing the idea outside the group dynamics that can affect their judgment. Or, more likely, their ability to affect the decision.

    Allow people to judge the ideas independently of one another. That doesn’t mean feedback should be in a vacuum. There’s also a lot of value in the diversity of viewpoints brought to ideas, and in collaboration around them.

    Obviously, the social software systems of today, such as Spigit, enable this crowdsourced approach to innovation.

    Finally, I’ll add that the identification of top ideas also requires the considered judgment of authorities. Not exclusively, but their input should be part of the process as well. Just make sure these people are open to innovation, not protecting turf or agendas.

    Helpful answer?