M.C. Esher once said, “Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.” Brian Lucas believes this is the key behind successful brainstorming, and thus the key to innovation. Since no business can survive without innovation, the crazier your ideas, the greater your chance at success.
However, there are some roadblocks to successful brainstorming, such as free riding, when an individual believes their personal ideas are less valuable combined with the group. There is also social matching effect, where the low productivity of the group keeps individuals from reaching their full potential; and illusion of group productivity, where one group believes they are more productive than they actually are.
One way to combat these issues is to defer judgment. Remember there’s no such thing as a bad idea, because even an unusable one could eventually inspire the perfect solution. Also, reach for quantity, because the more ideas you have the better. Finally address a specific question. After all, you have to have some parameters for the craziness.
In the end, what you need is a strong group dynamic where people aren’t afraid to voice the opinions that will carry your business into the future. That’s the real secret behind agile, and also innovation.