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Creativity Comments by Winston J. Brill, Ph.D.
08/02 Creativity Comment
and Great Ideas
What got me to write on the subject of fun was a talk I heard
from someone who has had extensive training in creative-thinking
summarized the kinds of techniques he teaches in his company and
ended the presentation with, “Above all, be sure everyone has
My best ideas arose when I was stone serious, even troubled.
Unless you are in a “fun” business like comedy, games,
or prank materials, I don’t see how fun induces great ideas.
When I survey people and ask how they came upon their great
idea, it’s rare when someone says it was while playing, joking
or kidding around.
I’ve observed famous inventors, artists, chefs, marketers
and scientists do “their stuff,” both alone and with their
teams. They certainly
weren’t having “fun.”
Coming up with great ideas is a serious responsibility, a
responsibility that should be borne by every employee.
If you don’t take it seriously, there’s no hope in
getting great ideas. Sure,
you can collect a great many ideas on a particular problem when a
group is having fun; probably many more than you would gather if
participants were serious. But
as I showed in Comment 06/02,
the quantity of ideas ought not to be a prime goal; quality is
what you should be after.
I’m not recommending that a meeting to think of great ideas
should forbid any humor. A
bit of laughter certainly can help a meeting achieve its
objectives by loosening people up; but fun….?
Fun does have its role, however. The fun part of a great idea usually arises in celebration, after
it is deemed a great idea, and after its put into use.
What’s your experience?