South-Western - Management  
In the Eye of a Brainstorm
Topic Decision Making
Key Words Brainstorming, problem-solving
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News Story 

Pitney Bowes’ Advanced Concepts and Technology group is a 10-member team of engineers, anthropologists, and inventors who work together to develop creative solutions for customer problems.

The group uses brainstorming techniques to elicit innovative ideas when faced with a problem that needs a solution, like a mom struggling to hold a cup of hot coffee after leaving a coffee shop, while trying to keep her child from running into traffic at the same time. The group members have rules for brainstorming—they believe that there is no such thing as a bad idea, and they set a quota of 50 ideas in 20 minutes.

Prototypes that flow from the group’s imaginative brainstorming sessions often result in product breakthroughs and patented ideas.

Questions
1.

What is brainstorming? What are the four rules that help to make brainstorming an effective decision-making technique?

2.

What are some barriers to typical group decision making that brainstorming attempts to overcome?

3.

What is electronic brainstorming? What are the pros and cons of this method of brainstorming?

4.

Name at least two other approaches to group decision making besides brainstorming and describe them here.

Source “In the Eye of a Brainstorm,” Workforce Management, Jan. 29, 2007, v86 i2 p.16.
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