The key to more creative brainstorming? Embarrass yourself

Want to foster more creative brainstorming?  Embrace your embarrassing side.

An experiment looked into whether gr0ups could be pre-loaded for better brainstorming.

93 managers were randomly assigned to three-person teams.

Half of the groups were told to share embarrassing stories; half talked about times they had felt pride.

Embarrassing Brainstorming

No cheating.

The anecdotes had to be personal and recent.

The people told to embarrass themselves were nervous at first.

Then someone would jump in (“OK, I’ll go first….”).

Within minutes, the trios were laughing uproariously.

Boasting Teams

The boasting teams had no trouble speaking up and appeared more comfortable.

Not much laughter though.

Just a few polite head nods.

The “embarrassment” teams created 26% more ideas spanning 15% more use categories than the boasting bunches.

So try this in your next brainstorming session.

Tell a self-deprecating story before you start.

Via Harvard Business Review