The inherent problem with trying to come up with a map idea, across not only different comps, but also different BRAINS, is that invariably one person's idea of a good thing isn't always that of the other people working on it.
Believe you me, if that weren't the case, I'd've gotten maps completed in WAY shorter time than it took.
The best way is to start from concept (theme/ schema) than do some mock-ups (simple, no expensive entities) and submit them for critique. The BEST way for a great map to be accomplished, at that point, would be to take the best ideas from the various maps and put them in one semi-final map.
That way, if some thing needs to be tweaked or altered, it can be done on the source-map level, not the final-level.
To streamline correctly sometimes takes a liiiitle bit of micro-managing, but it can be done less painfully than getting caught nailing that fat broad, from your English class.