Paul Paulus
Brainstorming: Optimizing The Group Creative Process
Brainstorming is often a basic part of the innovation process in many organizations. Brainstorming involves the free exchange of ideas about a particular issue or problem to provide a basis for the eventual selection or development of a solution or range of solutions. It often involves following some specific rules to insure the free flow of ideas. Brainstorming is typically done in groups, and there are many factors that limit the effectiveness of this process. Much research over the past 20 years has examined the factors ways of enhancing the group brainstorming process. One goal of my research has been to find those conditions that will produce synergy in groups—groups performing better than similar numbers of individuals. Most of this research is done under controlled laboratory conditions. I will provide an overview of this research, its relation to research on work team innovation, its implications for theory and practice.
Paul B. Paulus is the Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington. For the past 20 years he has been investigating the factors that influence group creativity. With Bernard Nijstad he edited the first scholarly volume on group creativity, and he has published over 60 papers and chapters on that topic and the related issue of team innovation. He has made numerous invited presentations to groups from the academic, business, engineering, and intelligence communities. In addition to his teaching and research career, he has served as Chair of the Department of Psychology and Dean of the College of Science. He has been a visiting professor at Bar Ilan University, the University of Groningen, the University of Sidney, the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.