Ah, ideas. Who doesn’t want more great ideas? I know I do.
I usually think about ideas as being magical and hard to produce. I expect them to just show up without me cultivating them, and I often get frustrated when they don’t show up when I need them.
The good news is that it turns out cultivating ideas is a process, and one that we can practice to produce more (and hopefully better) ideas. On the other hand, often times great ideas can also just come to us whilst in the shower or in another relaxing environment.
First, let’s look at the science of the creative process.
Anecdotal literature suggests that creative people sometimes use bodily movement to help overcome mental blocks and lack of inspiration. Several studies have shown that physical exercise may sometimes enhance creative thinking, but the evidence is still inconclusive. In this study we investigated whether creativity in convergent- and divergent-thinking tasks is affected by acute moderate and intense physical exercise in athletes (n = 48) and non-athletes (n = 48). Exercise interfered with divergent thinking in both groups. The impact on convergent thinking, the task that presumably required more cognitive control, depended on the training level: while in non-athletes performance was significantly impaired by exercise, athletes showed a benefit that approached significance. The findings suggest that acute exercise may affect both, divergent and convergent thinking. In particular, it seems to affect control-hungry tasks through exercise-induced “ego-depletion,” which however is less pronounced in individuals with higher levels of physical fitness, presumably because of the automatization of movement control, fitness-related neuroenergetic benefits, or both.
Bernard Ryefield's insight:
work-out is best fitted for athletes in respect of creativity; others should probably have a regular and moderate exercise
Users of the AHP first decompose their decision problem into a hierarchy of more easily comprehended sub-problems, each of which can be analyzed independently. The elements of the hierarchy can relate to any aspect of the decision problem-tangible or intangible, carefully measured or roughly estimated, well or poorly understood-anything at all that applies to the decision at hand.
A wicked problem is one for which each attempt to create a solution changes the understanding of the problem. Wicked problems cannot be solved in a traditional linear fashion, because the problem definition evolves as new possible solutions are considered and/or implemented. The term was originally coined by Horst Rittel.
Wicked problems always occur in a social context -- the wickedness of the problem reflects the diversity among the stakeholders in the problem.
Most projects in organizations -- and virtually all technology-related projects these days -- are about wicked problems. Indeed, it is the social complexity of these problems, not their technical complexity, that overwhelms most current problem solving and project management approaches
Trying to write a story? Poem? Costume designer? In almost everything that is art you have to be creative. Is your creative muscle lacking? Well here is a good exercise in creativity! Stand in the middle of a room.
It may be no coincidence that so many creative types have long lives. New findings show how doing what you love can add years
Bernard Ryefield's insight:
Maybe being able to solve more life problems creatively can add years too ? Or is it correlation and not causation: part of the genetic make-up wich control longevity can control one or more creative process ? Or both ?
"The real enemy is the man who tries to mold the human spirit so that it will not dare to spread its wings."
In an age obsessed with practicality, productivity, and efficiency, I frequently worry that we are leaving little room for abstract knowledge and for the kind of curiosity that invites just enough serendipity to allow for the discovery of ideas we didn’t know we were interested in until we are, ideas that we may later transform into new combinations with applications both practical and metaphysical.
This concern, it turns out, is hardly new. In The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge (PDF), originally published in the October 1939 issue of Harper’s, American educator Abraham Flexner explores this dangerous tendency to forgo pure curiosity in favor of pragmatism — in science, in education, and in human thought at large — to deliver a poignant critique of the motives encouraged in young minds, contrasting those with the drivers that motivated some of history’s most landmark discoveries.
The research reviewed by Berk, Mann & Ogan, (2006) and Hirsh-Pasek, Golinkoff, Berk, & Singer (2009) suggest that make-believe games are forerunners of the important capacity for forms of self-regulation including reduced aggression, delay of gratification, civility, and empathy. When children use toys to introduce possible scenarios or friends, the representation of multiple perspectives occurs naturally. Taking on different roles allows children the unique opportunity to learn social skills such as communication, problem solving, and empathy (Hughes, 1999).
An important benefit of early pretend play may be its enhancement of the child’s capacity for cognitive flexibility and, ultimately, creativity (Russ, 2004; Singer & Singer, 2005). Russ, for example, in longitudinal studies, found that early imaginative play was associated with increased creative performance years later (Russ, 2004; Russ, & Fiorelli, 2010). Root-Bernstein’s research with clearly creative individuals such as Nobel Prize winners and MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant awardees, indicated that early childhood games about make-believe worlds were more frequent in such individuals than in control participants in their fields (Root-Bernstein, 2012).
“There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.” —Salvador Dali
The romantic notion that mental illness and creativity are linked is so prominent in the public consciousness that it is rarely challenged. So before I continue, let me nip this in the bud: Mental illness is neither necessary nor sufficient for creativity.
Until recently, decision makers could only effectively harness shared creativity from relatively small mastermind groups such as boards, panels or committees. Data from these could be placed in pre-organized, well-structured and well-categorized "buckets" to extract creative knowledge.
The relatively recent growth and development of the Internet, however, along with social network technology, provides an opportunity to expand the mastermind concept to hundreds, or thousands or even hundreds of thousands of geographically distant people.
University of Cincinnati complex systems scientist Ali Minai and a team of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) are attempting to do just that—to develop computer-based tools to mine the Internet and communities of social media for creative insights.
The Cause & Effect (CE) diagram, also sometimes called the ‘fishbone’ diagram, is a tool for discovering all the possible causes for a particular effect. The effect being examined is normally some troublesome aspect of product or service quality, such as 'a machined part not to specification', 'delivery times varying too widely', 'excessive number of bugs in software under development', and so on, but the effect may also relate to internal processes such as 'high rate of team failures'.
This article investigates how neuroscience in general, and neuroscience of creativity in particular, can be used in teaching 'applied creativity' and the usefulness of this approach to creativity training. The article is based on empirical data and our experiences from the Applied NeuroCreativity (ANC) program, taught at business schools in Denmark and Canada. In line with previous studies of successful creativity training programs the ANC participants are first introduced to cognitive concepts of creativity, before applying these concepts to a relevant real world creative problem. The novelty in the ANC program is that the conceptualization of creativity is built on neuroscience, and a crucial aspect of the course is giving the students a thorough understanding of the neuroscience of creativity. Previous studies have reported that the conceptualization of creativity used in such training is of major importance for the success of the training, and we believe that the neuroscience of creativity offers a novel conceptualization for creativity training. Here we present two sets of empirical data, suggesting that principles from neuroscience can contribute effectively to creativity training and produce measurable results on creativity tests: 1) an experiment demonstrating how an ANC lecture on the neurobiology of creativity significantly decreased the number of fixations in a creative task, 2) pre/post-training tests showing that ANC students gained more fluency in divergent thinking (a traditional measure of trait creativity) than those in highly similar courses without the neuroscience component. The evidence presented indicates that the inclusion of neuroscience principles in a creativity course can in 8 weeks increase divergent thinking skills with an individual relative average of 28.5%.