Jonah Lehrer Talk on How to Increase Creativity

In the following talk, Jonah Lehrer discusses what science tells us about creativity and how that can be applied to increase creativity in the work environment.

Key takeaways:
-Einstein said that creativity is the residue of wasted time.
-Scientists can predict when an epiphany is about to occur based on measuring the brain’s alpha waves.
-Often insights occur when we are away from our desk and not overly focused on the problem.
-A study at University of Illinois at Chicago showed that when undergraduates were slightly drunk they solved 30% more problems than their sober classmates.
-The common characteristic of the most creative individuals is grit.
-Grit is about persistence, stubbornness, and single minded focus.
-Grit is particularly important in creative domains.
-Grit allows you to practice the right way which is not the fun way.
-In field after field, grit is the single best predictor of success.
-We have a feeling of knowing when we know we are close to solving a problem, like when a word you are thinking of is on the tip of your tongue.
-When we don’t feel like we are close, maybe we should relax. If we feel like we are close we should rely on the muscles of grit and stay focused.
-Steve Jobs put the only two bathrooms at Pixar Studios in a central location and it led to more epiphanies by employees.
-Creativity is not about efficiency, it is about serendipity.
-A great trend of the 21st century is a migration to cities.
-In the next 100 years more people will move to cities than in all of human history.
-Since the invention of Skype, business conference attendance has nearly doubled.
-Daydreaming turns out to be incredibly useful. People who daydream more score higher on tests about creativity.
-Study after study has shown that group brainstorming produces fewer ideas than individual brainstorming.
-Our free associations are pretty superficial because they are bound by language which is full of cliches.
-Studies have shown that debate and dissent generates more ideas.

Creative Commons Flickr photo courtesy of Viva Vivanista