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In this Blog post I would like to share few common reasons for Brainstorming Ideas failures and how it can be improved.

Brainstorming sessions are incredibly important in the discovery stage of the product development process. Not only do these sessions uncover new product ideas but they also boost team moral. Understanding the reasons for brainstorming failure often serve as a motivational force for corrective action. Some of the most critical reasons for failure include

  1. Not having a diverse group

  2. Ideas are prematurely disqualified

  3. Premature evaluation

  4. How” mindset instead of the “What” mindset


Not having a diverse group

  • A diverse collection of skills and experiences will lead to a diverse pool of ideas.

  • Having the wrong balance of experience and knowledge in the session, People should be invited to attend based upon the contribution that they can make rather than simply because of their rank, title, or availability. Inviting people that have a valid interest in the topic, even if they are not part of the project team, may bring forth good ideas.

  • Diverse teams usually do a better job challenging the assumptions, looking at problems and solutions differently, and dividing up the work requirements. Each member of the diverse group may come up with good ideas for parts of the solution and, when all the pieces are assembled, a good solution may result.

  • In addition, engaging as many people as possible to participate will create ownership across the team.

  • Everyone will feel like they were part of the project from the beginning.

  • This will lead to greater motivation and excitement to work on the final idea and reduce friction in aligning people in the future.

Ideas are prematurely disqualified

  • Have you ever had your idea shot down before you had a chance to explain your idea?

  • Judging an idea and disqualifying it instead of letting it stay is one of the biggest mistakes a group can make in a brainstorming session.

  • Sometimes combining ideas may generate the best possible solution. For this to work correctly, people must be given ample time to express their thoughts and digest what they heard.

Premature evaluation

  • Some groups tend to quickly jump on the first acceptable idea and run with it without proper evaluation.

  • Forcing participants to vote without due consideration of the facts can result in the implementation of a suboptimal solution that everyone will question.

“How” mindset instead of the “What” mindset

  • People tend to focus quickly upon solutions without fully understanding the problem, goal or question presented. While having people come prepared with ideas and solutions seems a good idea

  • Many ideas are considered stupid or bad because they seem to be impractical or impossible to implement.

  • This “how” mindset is toxic in a brainstorming session.

  • During a brainstorming session, the team should not focus on whether the technology exists or how expensive the technology will be.

  • The focus should be on generating as many ideas as possible to solve the problem.


Applying above tips and tricks product managers can improve Brainstorming idea discussion in the discovery stage of the product development process.

Next steps

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