Mythbuster: The supposed virtues of collective thinking

Les Binet and Sarah Carter

Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like the supposed virtues of collective thinking.

At a recent brainstorming, discussion turned to promoting a new product. Someone casually mentioned an upcoming big public event. Could we organise some kind of stunt there? The group seized on the comment, and quickly came up with half-a-dozen ideas. It looked like we'd cracked it.

But then someone pointed out there was little overlap between our target audience and the crowd at the event. The timing was wrong too. Suddenly the idea looked stupid. How could we have been so dumb?

Military strategists would recognise this problem – how groups can make reckless decisions by latching on to any proposal for action, rather than thinking more deeply.