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Better Brainstorming With Quantity Powered Quality

Sometimes you need to throw a few pots to reach a breakthrough.


Brainstorming for the perfect idea is daunting. However, a lesson from pottery class can help you get over that fear of failure to reach the perfect solution. By focusing on generating a large quantity of ideas, you shift your mindset away from the fear of judgment and perfectionism. This liberation allows you to explore a variety of ideas without self-censorship. In the process, you break down mental barriers and discover unexpected connections that can lead to the emergence of exceptional ideas. Furthermore, when you strive for a large quantity of ideas, you tap into your creative potential. By allowing yourself to think beyond conventional boundaries, you stretch your imagination and encourage innovative thinking. The more ideas you generate, the more likely you are to uncover unique and original concepts that can revolutionize your approach to problem-solving.


The pottery experiment described in the book "Art and Fear" by David Bayles and Ted Orland provides a compelling illustration of the concept of finding a quality idea through the generation of quantity. The experiment showcases how quantity and practice are crucial for developing artistic skill and discovering innovative ideas.


Brainstorming to unlock creativity

A pottery class instructor divided the students into two groups: Group A and Group B. Group A was tasked with producing a single perfect piece of pottery by the end of the semester, while Group B was assigned to create as many pieces as possible within the same timeframe.


Throughout the semester, Group A focused their efforts on meticulously planning and envisioning the perfect pot. They researched techniques, analyzed designs, and spent a significant amount of time envisioning the flawless outcome before even touching the clay. In contrast, Group B prioritized quantity over perfection. They quickly produced numerous pots, experimenting with different shapes, sizes, and styles.


When it came time for evaluation, an unexpected outcome emerged. While Group A's individual pots were not particularly remarkable, Group B's collective body of work displayed exceptional quality. The constant practice and repetition allowed them to learn from their mistakes, refine their techniques, and explore various creative possibilities. Their constant flow of ideas and willingness to experiment resulted in a deeper understanding of the art form and a more refined skill set.


This experiment highlights the importance of generating a quantity of ideas rather than fixating on perfection from the start. The students in Group B benefited from embracing the process of creating multiple pots, learning from each attempt, and building upon their previous experiences. By setting aside the fear of failure and allowing themselves to explore a multitude of ideas, they ultimately achieved a level of quality that surpassed their counterparts in Group A.


Brainstorming beyond post it notes

While generating numerous ideas may seem chaotic, it is an essential step towards finding quality. By amassing a large pool of ideas, you create a rich resource from which you can selectively refine and evaluate the most promising ones. It is in this subsequent stage of analysis and synthesis that you identify patterns, combine concepts, and distill the ideas into a few high-quality options.


Brainstorming is a powerful tool for idea generation, and finding a quantity of ideas is a vital step in the pursuit of quality. By embracing a mindset that encourages the exploration of diverse and numerous concepts, you unleash your creativity, overcome mental blocks, and foster collaboration. Remember that the quest for quality is a journey that requires iterative refinement. So, the next time you find yourself in a brainstorming session, aim for quantity, and let the magic of creativity guide you towards discovering that exceptional, game-changing idea.


Get in touch to learn how you can bring creativity to your company, school, or community group.


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