Grade school arithmetic would lead you to believe when you have three (3) people in a room, each with five (5) ideas, you’ll have a total of 15 ideas.

Luckily, brainstorming isn’t grade school arithmetic!

There’s a bit of mathmatical magic that happens when we share ideas. Let’s say you, me, and a friend are in this room.

When you offer an idea, it then becomes mine and our friend’s. That one idea with your single perspective now stimulates thinking in all three of us.

When we each have three ideas and share them with each other, it isn’t 5+5+5 but 5 to the power of 3, or 125!

Two key secrets for more effective brainstorming include:

  • stimulus (stuff to help spark ideas), and
  • diversity (brining together people with different perspectives).

When the three of us meet together we provide diverse background and stimulate ideas in each other.

Next time you’re stumped in trying to solve something, pull together a few others and ask them their thoughts. Get some diverse perspectives.

Thanks to Doug Hall’s book Jump Start Your Brain for sparking this article.