It is an urban myth that the word ‘brainstorming’ is insensitive, particularly to those with mental health problems, according to a survey.
A poll of 15 leading mental health charities and campaign bodies found that none of the organisations considered ‘brainstorming’ as politically incorrect or had any formal policies relating to this question.
The survey was conducted by consultancy creativity@work after HR specialists and training course delegates said they were concerned that the term ‘brainstorming’ was likely to cause offence, especially to schizophrenics and epileptics.
“We frequently come across people who tell us that, ‘You can’t use the word ‘brainstorming’, it’s politically incorrect’.” said Andy Green of creativity@work.
“We have witnessed situations where debate over the correctness of the word has actually got in the way of starting, or encouraging idea-generating sessions.”
The word ‘brainstorming’ was originally coined by Alex Osborn in his 1940 work Applied Imagination.
The Oxford English dictionary defines a brainstorming session as “a concerted intellectual treatment of a problem by discussing spontaneous ideas about it”.