Mike Brown has tried to figure out how big a brainstorming group should be in order to maximize the number of new ideas. Here are five significant suggestions:

  1. Having too many participants may result in people sitting back and not actively contributing with new ideas;
  2. Having too little participants may not let us fully exploit the potential of group – thinking in generating new ideas;
  3. When participants are especially different and at a good level of expertise in strategic thinking, even two or three people may constitute a fruitful brainstorming group;
  4. In other conditions, it would be wise to have a group of no more than  eight – ten people: in larger groups people often just listen to one person come up with ideas;
  5. If we have to work with larger groups, a solution would be to create smaller groups, working simultaneously on identical or related parts of the same exercise.

Ultimately, the key is to find the perfect balance between maximizing each participant’s time to contribute individually with the opportunity to hear other people ideas, in order to fully exploit the potential of strategic group – thinking.




Image: FlickrAndy Mangold (CC BY 2.0)