HR Strange But True!
July 10, 2008

In an attempt at political correctness, one British town has done away with a critical part of the creative process: brainstorming. Actually, the town banned the word "brainstorming," not the actual process for generating ideas.

The replacement: "Thought showers."

In Tunbridge Wells, UK the term brainstorming has been banned officially in an effort to make sure those with epilepsy and other seizure and panic disorders aren't offended.

The original use of the term brainstorming was adopted in the 1890s relating to people who had severe nervous attacks, but the more popular meaning of the phrase, the one that involves new ideas and creativity, has been in use since the 1940s, the Daily Mail reports.

However, when the National Society for Epilepsy members were surveyed three years ago about the phrase, the majority found it perfectly acceptable, the newspaper reports.

"People thought it was a great word to describe the coming together and discussion of ideas" Amanda Cleaver, spokesman for the society, was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

The town says it's all about fostering an inclusive environment.

"We take equality and diversity issues very seriously," Val Green, Personnel Chief for Tunbridge Wells, tells the newspaper. "It is important to us not to offend people and we are sorry if through trying to avoid this, we have indeed caused offense to the very people we were trying not to offend."

Brainstorming has already been replaced in other places in the UK, including the Redbridge Education Business Partnership in East London, the Deanes School in Essex, and the Church of England's Diocese of Southwark, the newspaper notes. So enjoy the word brainstorming in the United States while you still can, because who knows if these "thought showers" could be headed your way.

Source: The Daily Mail

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