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

02/02 Creativity Comment

Timing of Great Ideas

Think for a minute, when do you get your best ideas for work?  In your office?  During a brainstorming meeting?  While driving to or from work?

In my study of 350 great ideas (03/01), I was particularly impressed with the fact that only seven arose during scheduled group meetings.  Thatís 2%!  Many of us spend much of our workday at meetings, and many of these meetings are held specifically to find ideas to solve work problems.  Are we wasting valuable time during such meetings?

I found that 23% of the 350 great ideas arose during informal discussion with one other person, 18% during informal discussion with several people, and a whopping 43% when the person was alone.  Should we go back to the closed, private office concept?

Twenty-one percent had their great ideas when concentrating on the problem that the idea eventually solved, but 42% had their great ideas while concentrating on something else.  Maybe we should tell staff to keep their minds off their work?

Thirty-two percent had their great ideas at work as compared to 67% who had their great ideas away from the workplace.  Isnít this a good reason to initiate a 20-hour workweek?

How well do your experiences match these results? 

How do you explain these observations?  

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