Brainstorming after Sputnik

On the topic of group decision making, I recommend this interesting column that gives a quick review of creativity research in psychology. The column argues that the area was driven forward in the late 1950's and 1960's by the space race:

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union beat the United States to the launch of the first satellite to orbit Earth. In severe public humiliation, America lost round one of the Space Race. How had it happened? How could America win the next round? The whole education system came under intense scrutiny. "Why can't Johnny read?" became the catchphrase at school, while rote learning and the tendency to reward and reinforce unoriginal thinking came under attack at university level.
"This perceived failure of American science and engineering," wrote educationalists David H. and Arthur J. Cropley of the Sputnik shock, "was attributed to lack of creativity, and judged to be the result of defects in education. University-level teaching of engineering was widely regarded as indifferent or even hostile to creativity, and empirical studies supported this view ... Students who preferred trying new solutions dropped out of engineering courses three times more frequently than those who preferred conventional solutions."

The idea of "brainstorming" was introduced by an advertising executive, Alex Osborn, in his 1953 book Applied Imagination. It isn't often taught anymore the way that Osborn conceived it, with a whole method designed to break down organizational barriers to the new ideas. It formed an important part of the creativity movement, so ubiquitous that today it is unremarkable.