March 18, 2009
By Vickie Elmer
The Washington Post
Ready for a little brainwriting? In 15 or 20 minutes of concentration, the technique could unearth ideas for you or your organization.
Unlike brainstorming, where group members call out ideas, when brainwriting, each person sits in silence with a different colored pen to think and write on a key question. They silently pass along and share the ideas.
Brainwriting produces creative, useful ideas, including new ways to make money. But it's not widely used, said Peter A. Heslin, an assistant professor of management at Southern Methodist University. Brainstorming is more common, and less efficient because of all the giggling and slacking off, he said. Brainwriting depends on individual contributions and the pressure to produce. His article, "Better than Brainstorming," is in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.
Brainwriting participants might be asked to discover new markets or new ventures for their company. Or for their own use, they could consider transferable skills and the skills of successful staffers.
"Some people loved it. Some people hated it," Heslin said. "They were amazed at all the things they could produce."