The Productivity Illusion - Deepstash
The Productivity Illusion

The Productivity Illusion

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.

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MORE IDEAS FROM 3 Common Fallacies About Creativity

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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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.

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RELATED IDEA

Creativity is an in-demand skill, with studies showing that CEOs feel "innovation" is the number one priority for their business. But 77% of those CEOs also believe it's hard to find employees with creativity and innovation skills.

But, in reality, plenty of people meet the criteria. The problem is in the societal and cultural conventions around working that prevent employees from being creative.

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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.

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The Eureka Myth

There is a big misconception that ideas generate like a flash.

Researches show that such insights are actually the culminating result of prior hard work on a problem. It's like our brain is connecting the dots to form an image.

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Productive Procrastination

"For creativity, what you really need is looser, less focused thinking - and that seems to come with slight engagement in an undemanding task."

This is backed by a brand-new study presented by Jihae Shin and Adam Grant where their results showed that people who took a few short breaks tended to come up with far more creative ideas than low- and high- procrastinators.

Thus strengthening the idea that moderate levels of distraction can unleash innovative thinking.

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