we retained the inference that brainstorms impress clients).
Table 1 indicates we found that brainstorms at IDEO had six other consequences beyond generating ideas that were important enough to IDEO, its designers, and clients to be labeled effectiveness outcomes (1) supporting the organizational memory of design solutions, (2) providing skill variety, (3) supporting an attitude of wisdom (acting with knowledge while doubting what one knows), (4) creating a "status auction" (a competition for status based on technical skill), (5) impressing clients, and (6) providing income.
Brainstorms are among the main ways that design solutions are added to, stored in, and retrieved from IDEO's memory.
Brainstorms often concern products and parts IDEO has not designed before, so preparation entails gathering related products by the client and its competitors.
Designers also gossip after brainstorms, so useful, funny, or strange ideas spread quickly to those who don't attend.
The design solutions acquired, recalled, and developed in brainstorms are stored mostly in three locations.
In addition to adding to and preserving IDEO's memory, brainstorms are a setting in which old design solutions are retrieved and then adapted and blended together to help solve new design problems.
The most fruitful brainstorms are when at least one participant has a good deal of specific, available knowledge from a different area that is still very applicable.
Designers in brainstorms retrieve ideas from past brainstorms, from products they or others they knew had designed, from ongoing IDEO projects, and from personal experiences prior to and outside of IDEO.
So our first answer to the "effectiveness at what" question is that brainstorms help add to, maintain, and draw on IDEO's memory of design solutions.
A newcomer even wondered if they had "too much fun" in brainstorms and ought to present a "more serious image.