“brainstorming” in asia

I heard of this technique for brainstorming when I was working at this anime shop in Taiwan some years back. It works for groups, and it works solo. The key is that when U brainstorm, all U do is spit out ideas and write them down. U don’t stop to judge an idea. U don’t filter ideas for quality or relevance. Even random nonsense gets written down. U only stop when U run out of hot air, or when the hourglass runs empty. Then U can comb back through the debris of the brainstorm and pick and choose and mix and match.

I imported this technique to the anime shop. It worked pretty good for the creative team. It was funny ’cause U always have this instinct to stop and judge your own output point-blank, but now we had the ground rules set to where that was off limits. If U started judging, other people would cut U off and everyone would laugh, and that laughter fed the brainstorm.

I’ve tried to introduce this technique elsewhere in Taiwan and Vietnam, but it’s never worked. People don’t get it. They can’t grasp the idea of not judging right away. The highest-ranking person will jump all over the first acceptable option and endorse it. Then everyone else nods and shuts up. That’ll be the end of the session. I see this over and over.

It’s all so stone-faced, so feudal, so “Asian”, but then I wonder, hey, maybe Anglo society is the outlier here, with its possibilities of brainstorming, etc.

I also have to stop and say, hey, that anime shop was something special. “Creative people” are special.

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