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Trying to resolve things too quickly, especially for complex problems, is detrimental to innovation because you fall prey to premature closure. And resistance to premature closure — a key aspect of creativity — is our ability to keep an open mind when we already have a potential solution.
While mantras like “move fast and break things” can help push people towards action, they can backfire when the underlying problem is complex. In such situations, urging the team to keep searching for more ideas can lead to more innovative and far-reaching solutions.
Creative thinking is more cognitively demanding than logical thinking. In that sense, creative thinking is a higher-order skill. In practical terms, this means that analyzing an idea is easier than synthesizing a new one from multiple sources.
In an ideal scenario, organizations would pay people in proportion to their cognitive work. In practice, however, we tend to reward “critics” more than “synthesizers” because critics sound more intelligent.
Most teams associate successful ideation with group work. Surprisingly, that’s not true. Group brainstorming feels more productive because the social connection we experience with each other during brainstorming makes us happier and we confuse that with productivity.
In practice, nominal brainstorming (where individual team members think independently before sharing their ideas) consistently outperforms traditional group brainstorming, especially for diverse teams.
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Organisations want innovators, and creative people want to be supported in the workplace. So we need to change the way the workplace works for everyone's benefit.