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

03/02 Creativity Comment

Role of Enthusiasm

In the previous Creativity Comment, I asked how we can explain that so many of our great ideas occur while thinking of something other than the problem the great idea eventually solves.  Why do so few great ideas occur during meetings?  And why do many of our great ideas occur away from the workplace?  Many MONTHLY MENTOR subscribers tell me that their experiences confirm the results from my study of the human side behind 350 great ideas.

Do these observations then show that minimizing meetings, working in isolation with less concentration on work, and a shorter workday will stimulate creativity?  I don’t think so.  The people who had these great ideas “had” their work with them when they were alone, and “brought” their work with them when they weren’t working, even when they weren’t at work. 

In other words, the people who had these great ideas were so interested in their work activities that the interest remained high, even when they were away from the workplace.  We spend most of our hours away from the workplace.  This interest primed the minds of these people so they were open to sensory inputs and thoughts, some of which result in connections that lead to great ideas.  We never know where and when such inputs trigger new ideas. 

If someone isn’t very interested in work responsibilities, his or her mind just won’t be accessible—especially after leaving the workplace—to making these connections.  

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