Brainstorming as a group can be fun and energizing, but the results aren’t always better than when individuals ideate on their own. To get the most out of your next brainstorming session, the trick is for everyone to first spend time alone thinking up solutions — and then to get together to pool, discuss, debate, and refine. This format allows you to build on great ideas to make them even better. And don’t be afraid to fully engage with each other. According to research by Dr. Charlan Nemeth at the University of California at Berkeley, “Debate and criticism do not inhibit ideas but, rather, stimulate them.”
Source: “Groupthink: The brainstorming myth,” Jonah Lehrer, The New Yorker.