Wondering why traditional brainstorming methods fail? According to this article by Art Markman, these methods do not necessarily generate any new ideas than had people worked on their own. The article describes the two stage of solving problems as a group – divergence, the coming up with a wide range of solutions, and convergence, the narrowing down of those solutions to a smaller number on which to focus. The key for group members is to be aware of when they are diverging and when converging.
The article makes practical suggestions as to how to create what it describes as “healthy convergence” which I think could be useful when endeavouring to co-produce solutions involving setting out with a blank piece of paper. The article concludes by stating the approach “respects what individuals and groups do best” which is at the heart of co-production.
Attempts to co-produce can be so unstructured and messy that the “production” part i.e. coming to a practical conclusion remains elusive. It could be that being aware of the need to diverge and converge is a potential solution which I will bear in mind.