I hate brainstorming with stupid people. Everyone always says that it’s important to work with smart people. There are more than one reasons for that. Not only do you gain more ideas from other smart people, but they also get your ideas much more quickly. I have seen this time and again everywhere. If you come up with a smart idea, and are explaining it to someone who is not so smart, then they usually end up raising all the obvious objections. After going through the objections, and you answering all the stupid questions, they start forming the same answers that you came up with yourself anyway. Of course, throughout this process, you have now ended up wasting time and effort. Sometimes, these sessions also seem less like brainstorming and more like arguing sessions. The worst part is that you have all the ideas pat down, but are explaining the obvious effects to the less smarter folks in the room. The more stupid the person, the more that person feels that he has contributed more to the idea. Of course, there are some stupid people who just don’t talk. But in my experience, the worst kinds are those who talk before thinking, and raise objections before evaluating an argument.
Many times, these stupid people also draw a person in with absolutely dumb arguments and parallels. It is important for the originator of the idea not to get drawn in these arguments. In any case, the end result is always the same. Everyone in the room comes to the same conclusion that you had started with, except of course, now it’s a collective idea. As time passes, everyone in the group feels that the most important ideas were their own.
I have always maintained that you cannot design deeply in a group discussion. The more people you add to a discussion, the less effective it becomes in finding a resolution. In terms of creative solutions, every additional person reduces effectiveness by half. The best thing to do is to think through the idea, write down the obvious objections and their answers, and then go and present to the group.
Or, better yet, stop brainstorming with stupid people!
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