George Lois’s Group Grope

I recently read Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent!). It’s a collection of 120 vignettes which form a broad autobiographical narrative of George Lois’ career interwoven with his key advertising lessons. One of those lessons, ‘Reject Group Grope’, rallies against the formation of large teams to solve problems or create ideas.

“Think about this: Decisive, breakthrough creative decision-making is almost always made by one, two, or possibly three minds working in unison, take it or leave it.Collective thinking usually leads to stalemate or worse. And the smarter the individuals in the group, the harder it is to nail the idea. Certainly, in my experience as a mass communicator and cultural provocateur, I know this to be absolutely true: Group thinking and decision-making results in group grope.”

This stood out to me as it conflicts with the common assumption that an increase in the amount of people working on a problem will result in a better solution. Some time after reading this passage, I picked up a copy of John Hegarty‘s book “Hegarty on Creativity”. The book includes a passage on collaboration that reflects George Lois’s feelings. To quote perhaps the most impactful line in Hegarty’s paragraph,

“Collaboration becomes consensus.”

 

Hey. I’m Alex Murrell. I'm a Planner at Epoch Design in Bristol where I help deliver highly creative, innovative and effective pack, instore and online communications for some of the world’s biggest FMCG brands. Want to know more? You can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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