Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Creativity & The Power of Persistence

Source: Thrive Global

Does our creativity diminish over time?  Most people think so.  They believe that that we are likely to generate our most creative and innovative ideas during the early stages of brainstorming.  Unfortunately, people are being misled because they think that those ideas that are harder to generate (i.e., that take some time to surface) are less innovative. They are mistaken in that belief. Those ideas you generate quickly and easily are not necessarily your most creative concepts.  

Professors Loran Nordgren and Brian Lucas have conducted a series of studies demonstrating that our creativity increases with some persistence.   Moreover, they have shown that people's failure to recognize the power of persistence comes at a cost.  Nordgren notes that people's mistaken beliefs may actually cause them to give up prematurely in search of transformative ideas, and therefore, not to maximize their creativtity. Nordgren explains, "People think their best ideas are coming fast and early.  You’re either not seeing any drop-off in quality, or your ideas get better. People don’t maximize their creative potential, and part of that is because of these beliefs." 

It's perhaps not surprising that people don't recognize the power of persistence when it comes to creativity.  As brainstorming begins, people tend to generate lots of ideas.  As time passes, it becomes more difficult to offer original ideas.  The drop in quantity often leads to a drop in energy in the group.  There's a sense that the team is floundering a bit.  Those feelings likely cause people to conclude that they are not likely to generate highly creative ideas if they continue their conversation.  Teams should not fall into this trap though.  They should not confuse quantity with quality.  Perhaps they need a break to achieve some pscyhological distance from the problem.  However, they should not give up. They should persist.  

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