Claims about the success of brainstorming rest on easily tested assumptions. One assumption is that groups produce more ideas than individuals. Researchers in Minnesota tested this with scientists and advertising executives from the 3M Company. Half the subjects worked in groups of four. The other half worked alone, and then their results were randomly combined as if they had worked in a group, with duplicate ideas counted only once. In every case, four people working individually generated between 30 to 40 percent more ideas than four people working in a group. Their results were of a higher quality, too: independent judges assessed the work and found that the individuals produced better ideas than the groups.
One of the guiding hypothesis for my invention of the action oriented workflow paradigm was the insight that ultimately people are not their most creative when they are saddled with any kind of pressure to perform, it is true that many seem to be less troubled by various stresses under the need to perform but that is not the same as saying that they are unbothered...just better able to deal with them than others.
The ideal performance environment for the generation of creativity or performance of a type desired is actually thus one of ultimate peace.
In business, pressure looms like a giant across multiple levels. Employers are under pressure to perform their daily or monthly acts to achieve some (usually arbitrary) company , department or division goal. Managers are double pressured by possible dissension in the ranks of those they manage or pressure from upper management. The ability for people to optimally create or perform is compromised by default.
The common practice of using gatherings of people to discover solutions to existing problems mixes together the sources of social pressure and coupled with cost and time constraints leads to short cuts to completion that otherwise would not be taken and by being taken only lead to the slow build up of increasingly inefficient processes that ultimately fail as addressing a companies given market while leading to workers who are over taxed, over stressed and incapable of giving their best work.
I saw in 2003 when I started building the code for AOW that leveraging the potential ability for people to be most creative when they were at peace would lead to a potential revolution in how companies recruit work from their employee base...more over I saw it as a tool that could potentially help them recruit work from any potential provider of that work...so long as a degree of confidence in their competence could be determined...but how to do this automatically?
Realizing that decoupling work or action execution from executing agent was the key, coupled with a large volume of potential performers ...the tyranny of large numbers would actually be inverted ...the more potential agents the more likely that any given action can be done by some one both willing and competent at performing it.
By 2005 this "explicit" workflow version of AOW was completed...it wasn't until 2011 that I would extend it to allow an "implicit" workflow...which would gather historical data of action performance from agents and use that to predictively route future actions to agents discovered in real time. This is done using a statistical learning approach that I codified into the term action delta assessment or ADA.
Together AOW and ADA present a brand new way of thinking about harnessing the work potential of people by enabling them to be emancipated of most of the traditional pressures of performance indicated above. The hegemony of time now broken an "emancipated workforce" could not provide continuous quality in their performance as requested from a global pool of potential but not necessarily "on call" workers.
People want to work across their value landscapes, to maximize their inherent values ability to derive compensation...and on their own schedules...yesterday I did art, today I write code...tomorrow I build a pc...the optimal system would be one that can find my desire to work when I am most willing to commit some action from my set of skills....it is by dynamically harnessing this truth over all available workers...that we simultaneously improve the efficiency of companies and the people they employ. AOW as implemented in AgilEntity is that system. I'm still evangelizing my solution but find solace in the direction of the future with more and more people stumbling into what I saw as clear as day a dozen years ago and started building the future I wanted to live in, that future is now.