Group vs Individual Ideation

In marketing technology solutions, at least, valuable ideas come from individual labor, more so than a group

On the “Solving Interesting Problems” episode of Akimbo podcast, Seth Godin said, “Interesting problems are solved by groups”.

I couldn’t agree more (the “but” comes later). Seth even cites the example of people who seem to solve problems by themselves: scientists. 

Scientists’ work may be conducted in a solitary way, but it relies on the work of a larger group – the other scientists who provided scientific building blocks. One scientist won’t have found a cure for cancer; 10’s of thousands  will have.

Peer review encodes group participation into problem-solving.

But… before peer review, the work is solitary. 

For me this is how it goes: the more time spent alone, the better the solution.

This might be just me – maybe what I do (marketing for tech firms) requires activities that are foolish to delegate or which can’t be done by a group. A few examples:

  • Gauging the emotional state of a prospective “user” of a product
  • Evaluating demographic data for patterns 
  • Writing something persuasive to a particular individual

That’s all individual work.

Of course, there’s immense value (ie valuable ideas) to the “peer review” process, to exposing one’s work up to a group. 

But meanwhile, in marketing tech solutions at least, valuable ideas come from individual labor, more so than the group.

What about in your work?