Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Neuropsychology of Creativity and Design Thinking, Part 1

In Bill Greenwald's workshop, we focused on the science behind creativity.  Bill began the session with some little known facts. Here's one for you. Did you know that when people look for mates, they look for creativity, even beyond IQ? Well, Stanford research proves it!

Off we go. Here are some of the key points we discussed:

  • The key drivers for Big "C" creativity are Divergent Thinking, Openness to Experience, and Introversion (yes, you read correctly...not extroversion). Given this, we should consider what schools and businesses are doing to build divergent thinking and openness to experience? Well, it takes deliberate thinking, yet no one is really practicing it. If you're wondering how to learn divergent thinking and openness to experience, try an improv class! Lastly, when it comes to introversion, what Bill finds is that companies look for extroverts to staff their creative and design thinking teams.
  •  Contrary to current architectural trends, open environments can cause stress. While open environments are meant to bring about collaboration, having to find a conference room, being distracted by noise, and not having a place to think causes stress.
  •  Creativity = Novelty + Usefulness. Many times Bill finds people who are interested in starting a business have novel ideas, but they may not be useful.
  • Our brains need to connect to purpose. One of the reasons we disengage at work is that we aren't aligned with the company's purpose or mission. The disconnection isn't deliberate, it's science! So, when it comes to creativity, you need to be creative with a purpose.
  • Personal resilience is at the heart of creativity. You need resilience (aka. mental toughness or grit) to sell your ideas through. In the science of resilience, you never lose...it's about what you take out of the battle. There are many studies where very talented kids do not reach their potential because they may have been ridiculed "that one time."
  • You need "conformers" in creativity and innovation. They're the ones who will help implement.
 Now, time for the morning networking and refreshment break...


Alicia Arnold holds a Master of Science in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College and an M.B.A in Marketing from Bentley University. She enjoys writing about creativity and innovation and is published with Bloomberg Businessweek, the Huffington Post, The National Association of Gifted Children, and iMedia Connection. In her role as an award winning, digital marketer, she uses her passion for creativity and innovation to develop breakthrough digital and social experiences. You can connect with Alicia on Twitter @alicarnold.

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