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.
-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