True, brainstorming session seems not effective at all. Group think and silence-of-death etc are lethal for the discussion. There are ways to improve the effectiveness of brainstorming from a group. A web site called Post-gazette suggests having individual to brainstorm alone may decrease group think and improve discussions:

…David Perkins, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, warns that sometimes group sessions can result in one person’s bad idea tainting and limiting the range of others’ ideas. “The best way to get good ideas is to get people to write them down privately and then bring them in,” he says. You want group diversity but no more than five to seven people or you risk ending up with “coblabberation.”

“If you stand back and think about (brainstorming), it’s plainly inefficient,” says Prof. Perkins. But, he says, “sometimes you take the brainstorming approach because you want everyone to feel they have a voice.”

That shouldn’t be confused, though, with actually having a voice, says Christopher Holland, a policy analyst for the Australian government. “These things are usually designed to give people the idea that they have input into decisions when the decisions have already been decided.”…

Cubicle Culture: How brainstorming works best – [Post-gazette]

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