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Creativity Comments by Winston J. Brill, Ph.D.

04/01 Creativity Comment

Summarizing the Data

From examining the human side behind 350 great ideas, I made the following observations:

  • Many people working in modern, fancy facilities had great ideas, and many people working in dull, well-aged environments had great ideas.  

  • Many people considered by colleagues as "highly creative types" had great ideas, and
    many people not considered especially creative had great ideas.
             
                     

  • Many people working in open spaces had great ideas, and many people working in closely confined spaces had great ideas.  

  • Many people on the high end of the salary scale had great ideas, and many people at the low end of that scale had great ideas.  

  • Many people with supervisors who permit a lot of freedom had great ideas, and many people with supervisors not providing that freedom had great ideas.

  • Many people who felt comfortable at work had great ideas, and many people under tremendous pressure had great ideas.   

  • Many people, defined by coworkers as "fun-loving," had great ideas, and many people considered "serious" had great ideas.  

  • Many experts had great ideas, and many non-experts also had great ideas.

  • Many people in small start-ups had great ideas, and many people in huge multinationals had great ideas.
     

I did find some correlations; however, they were mostly negative ones.  Only seven of these 350 great ideas occurred during group meetings!   (How much time do you spend in meetings searching for great ideas?)  In fact, most great ideas occurred when the individual wasnít actually working on the problem that the idea eventually solved.  Many great ideas for work happened when the person wasnít even in the workplace!  No wonder itís been difficult to get a handle on this elusive subject.   

None of these great ideas were facilitated or inspired by an "expert's" creative thinking method, even though many of the companies had people trained in such methods.

These results certainly put into question many current management "wisdoms."

But, as youíll learn, in subsequent Creativity Comments, it can all make sense.  And with that sense, it will become obvious what you need to do to enhance creativity and guide that creativity to innovative successes.  

©2006 Winston J. Brill & Associates. All rights reserved.