Most team leaders see the value in a well-performed team brainstorming at work: Here they get access to new ideas and perspectives on how to solve company challenges, which they can use in their contribution to innovation within the company.

Social Capital as a Context Dependent Resource

In other words, the team members can be viewed as social capital accessible by the team leader. According to David Gauntlett (who refers to the work by American sociologist James Coleman) social capital is a resource available to an individual depending on the context:

“If you live on a street where you can rely on your neighbours to look out for your children, then you have access to a form of social capital which other people, in less trusting or well-bonded street, do not”.

Keep this definition in mind while we in the following point out two selected downsides to a traditional team brainstorming session.

Social Capital Does not Have to Be Tied to a Specific Time and Space

In a traditional brainstorming session, the team leader has access only to the social capital connected to the members present at that specific time in that specific space. Let’s say you arrange a brainstorming at 9 AM in a meeting room on a Tuesday. If the whole team can’t be there, it can be a loss of great ideas and a structural problem for your idea management process. In order to create a more involving innovation process, we suggest using a simple ideation platform like the one Ideanote has created for you. This way each team member can contribute with ideas at any time without leaving the desk. The team leader can then go through them when it fits into his/her work schedule.

Social Capital Connected to Introverted Team Members

Another downside to a traditional brainstorming session is related to the more introverted team members: As elaborated in our blogpost Tips for structured team brainstorming by the keyboard, they might withhold ideas in a traditional team brainstorming session. It is our understanding that they feel more comfortable in an online team brainstorming where they can contribute with ideas when it suits them the most. The introverted team members can thus be viewed as social capital only available to the team leader during a digital team brainstorming session. This puts emphasis on your need for an online idea management tool like the one Ideanote has developed.