Not the way to harvest ideas.

If you need to do problem solving, you will find brainstorming an effective tool. A good facilitator will help get ideas flowing to the white board for eventual discussion by the group. However, care must be exercised in brainstorming to prevent the harmful practice of “blame storming”.

Blame storming is a shift from positive problem solving into the dark arena of laying blame for past problems or failures.

Detroit’s most famous entrepreneur had some interesting views on brainstorming and blame storming. He was once asked about brainstorming using customer focus groups. His reply was that if he had asked people about their views of transportation they would “have asked for a faster horse”.

Perhaps he was right, but the underlying request would have been that people wanted to get from point “a” to point “b” quicker. His product delivered on that request.

However, the famous inventor also showed the masterful thought process. When it came to problems, including those problems surfacing during a brainstorming session, he said “do not find fault, find a solution.”

Keep your brain storming, focused on the horizon. It is helpful to understand past problems to the point of not repeating mistakes, yet it is only helpful when it is done with the attitude of “what went wrong” instead of “who did what went wrong”.