Innovation capability resides less in markets, strategies, technologies, or leadership than we typically suppose, and more specifically in factors that companies can control--culture, business attitudes and perspectives, focus, and intent. That’s the real lesson we can learn from relentless innovators: what drives long-term, successful innovation are the same factors that shape the way people think and act in any business--operating models, strategies, rewards, culture, and processes.
"The other kind of attention, which serves creativity, is where the right hemisphere is dominant. That requires deeply quieting the mind. It was Betty Edwards (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain) who discovered that one powerful way to prompt a powerful shift from left to right hemisphere is to copy an upside down line drawing. Or simply to draw, for that matter.
But there are lots of ways to prompt the shift: take a walk in nature, go for a run, listen to classical music... Even take a shower. It’s repetition that matters. The more we train any muscle - including the right hemisphere - the stronger and more active it becomes."
"Of course companies need to pay people well. If they don't, compensation becomes a bone of contention, and a distraction from their work. But if you really want outstanding creative performance, you need people to focus on intrinsic motivations - factors inherent in the work itself. Things like challenge, interest, learning, meaning, freedom, and creative flow. They are what really motivates creative people - and the research demonstrates a strong link between levels of intrinsic motivation and creativity."
A study released yesterday by the Martin Prosperity Institute ranks 82 countries on their creativity. Turns out creativity is a driving force in the economy: the study found great correlations between creativity and economic progress, human development, and happiness, among other factors. Each country is given a Global Creativity Index (GCI), which is based on three human factors: How technologically savvy are they? How capable is their workforce? And how open are they to new ideas?
The final route is perhaps the most pernicious, that of self-doubt. On the map, it rears its ugly little head time and again, represented by all sorts of bizarre torture devices, from a human crushing machine to some kind of spike-laden steamroller. These are silly cartoon jokes that betray a serious point about creativity: Your biggest roadblock isn’t a dearth of genius or a lack of motivation or even that hapless Wile E. Coyote you have for a boss. It’s your own insecurity. Remember that next time you fire up your creative engine.
I’m not saying abolish group work--I think there’s a time and a place for people to come together and exchange ideas, but let’s restore the respect we once had for solitude. And we need to be much more mindful of the way we come together. Studies tell us that the most verbal, assertive, and dominant person’s ideas are going to be paid more attention to. However, those same studies also indicate zero correlation between the effectiveness with which an idea is advanced and its usefulness. Any time people come together in a meeting, we’re not necessarily getting the best ideas; we’re just getting the ideas of the best talkers. If you’re a company that cares about getting the best suggestions from your employees, you need to think a lot more creatively about how to generate those ideas than just throwing people together in meetings.
So what would our mornings look like if we re-engineered them in the interest of maximizing our creative problem-solving capacities? We’d set the alarm a few minutes early and lie awake in bed, following our thoughts where they lead (with a pen and paper nearby to jot down any evanescent inspirations.) We’d stand a little longer under the warm water of the shower, dismissing task-oriented thoughts (“What will I say at that 9 a.m. meeting?”) in favor of a few more minutes of mental dilation. We’d take some deep breaths during our commute, instead of succumbing to road rage. And once in the office — after we get that cup of coffee — we’d direct our computer browser not to the news of the day but to the funniest videos the web has to offer.
For decades, psychologists have manipulated the emotions of subjects in the lab by showing them short film clips. But now there’s YouTube — and, in fact, the clip that made the participants in Ruby Nadler’s study happiest of all was a YouTube video of a laughing baby. Laughing babies and a double latte: now that’s a way to start the day.
"These are places where the physical working context combines an open-plan with project rooms of various sizes to support small group collaboration or individual focus, with plenty of highly transparent, portable cubicles (which is what most people call “headphones"). They are environments where people can also work from home or wherever they prefer when they’d rather work alone. These places foster the idea that an office isn’t just walls, but can be wherever people live, work, and use the products and services we give shape to.
At someplace such as Frog, a highly collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and multicultural environment is simply a requirement, because of the complexity of the problems we face. In that context, every team member needs a strong individual point of view fueled and sustained by personal passions and deep vertical knowledge. The point is to create associations between the complex world that we’re trying to address, and those slower periods of processing, reflection, and interpretation. So by combining moments of intense, personal immersion with high-intensity collaborative workshops and workgroup, we can generate insights rather than prescribing mechanistic solutions. In that context, we can welcome end-users into the creative process while still expecting team leaders to be advocates of a holistic vision"
Taking a break is important. But make sure you do something that makes you happy, as positive moods make us even better at diagnosing the value of our creative work. After a few relaxing days of vacation, you’ll suddenly know which new ideas deserve more time and which need to be abandoned. Because even Bob Dylan wrote a few songs he probably shouldn’t have sung
"There is no technology, no time-saving device that can alter the rhythms of creative labor. When the worth of labor is expressed in terms of exchange value, therefore, creativity is automatically devalued every time there is an advance in the technology of work.”
"decades of research show that individuals almost always perform better than groups in both quality and quantity, and group performance gets worse as group size increases. The “evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups,” wrote the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham. “If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority.”
Open and democractic loft-style workspaces have been in fashion for 10+ years now. And they're great. But not when it comes to building creative leaders.
(...) There's certainly no silver bullet; innovation can spring from any type of organizational structure, whether overtly hierarchical or flat. But there's little doubt that strong leadership is central to bringing creative ideas to life. So how can we cultivate that?"
"The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and the intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world… Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work." Steve Jobs
Why Man Creates focuses on the creative process and the different approaches taken to that process. It is divided into eight sections: The Edifice, Fooling Around, The Process, Judgment, A Parable, Digression, The Search, and The Mark.
In 2002, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".