… a brainstorming session at BBDO aimed to create an atmosphere of uncritical acceptance. A group of people, gathered from various departments and levels within the company, met in a room painted sunshine yellow ‘to aid inspiration.’ The room’s pine furniture, table settings, pads and pencils were all roughly the same inspirational hue. With a problem before them, all hands thought out loud, spewing forth ideas no matter how unlikely or unconsidered. The only judgments permitted were positive ones that might allow one participant to ‘hitchhike’ on another’s suggestion. For the time being, internal rank meant nothing: everyone was equal. Only afterward would someone of judicial mind sort through the stenographic record. In 1956, 401 brainstorming sessions at BBDO produced 34,000 tentative ideas, an average of 85 per meeting; of these, 2,000 were judged ‘worthy of development into usable ideas.’
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