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McCaffey Produces Brainswarming Video

Tony McCaffrey, a former postdoctoral researcher and current collaborator in the Center for e-Design at our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, has produced a short video to explain the new “Brainswarming” tool he has created for Innovation Accelerator, Inc., the company he founded with its CEO, James O. Pearson, an alumnus of the MIE department. Brainswarming, consisting of software that provides a better, more efficient process as an alternative to brainstorming, is the latest tool to emerge from McCaffrey’s research and will soon become an online platform for remote group work. A game version of Brainswarming is also available. Watch the video for more information on what Brainswarming is and how you can implement it: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/03/why-you-should-stop-brainstorming/.

“How many times have you been in a brainstorming session this week?” as McCaffrey explains the problem being solved by his Brainswarming invention. “Chances are the answer is, ‘more than I can count.’ But no study has proven that brainstorming works well, even though it has been the go-to method for idea generation since 1953. But there is an alternative. After researching why brainstorming inhibits creativity and innovation, my colleagues and I came up with a new process we call Brainswarming.”

As the Innovation Accelerator website explains, “Brainstorming does not work because of talking. Extroverts dominate introverts and sharing one at a time is terribly inefficient. Brainswarming has people work silently in parallel by placing post-it notes on special problem-solving diagrams. The result is more ideas – up to 115 ideas in 15 minutes as opposed to maybe 100 ideas an hour for brainstorming. Another result is more diverse ideas, since the quiet people are not dominated by the talkative ones.”

Innovation Accelerator creates software to help companies solve their worst nightmares, design their best products, and create their brightest inventions in a scientific, systematic, effective way. The whole point of Innovation Accelerator is to organize ineffectual brainstorming into a perfect storm of inventive ideas.

“Everyone wants innovation,” says Pearson. “But what is it and how do you get it? Innovation Accelerator brings science to the art of innovation by defining it and devising software to achieve it.” (April 2014)