I was walking down an office corridor recently where the walls were painted in vibrant hues … purples, greens, marigold. Natural light brightened the work area. It felt cheery and it set me wondering how environments affect our creativity. It turns out research has shown that things like wall color, lighting, ceiling height and ambient noise can affect the way we think.
In his commencement address at Harvard University this year, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) talked about creating a sense of purpose, and not to avoid taking on big meaningful projects simply because you don’t quite know how to do them yet. Just get started. “Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work
It’s easy to get stuck while hunting for new product ideas. Perhaps the ideas generated don’t seem new enough, more like revisions to current products than major breakthroughs. One technique we’ve found works well to help get you out of the rut is to re-frame the problem you’re trying to solve.
This Thanksgiving I noticed a couple of products while out food shopping …
“Thanksgiving Day Dinner” dogfood
“Turkey and Sweet Potato Formula” dogfood
They both include turkey and sweet potatoes, but my mind jumped to different impressions of each product. Which one would you have chosen?
In a TED talk on creativity, Tim Harford talks about how adding a touch of mess increases your ability to solve problems. In one of his examples, the psychologist Katherine Philips gave some problems to students in groups of 4. Some groups were 4 friends who knew each other well, other groups were 3 friends and a
Nature is full of inspiring places to look for solutions to problems and new ideas. This came to the fore in a recent project we worked on where a new product was inspired by the anatomy of a bird. New ideas are rarely truly new. Often, the best ideas are sparked by something else, and
Imagine an experiment where the task is to mount a candle on a vertical board. The only supplies are a vertical board, a candle, a book of matches, a box of thumbtacks. Who do you think would solve this task quicker …? A group offered a $ reward if they solve the task in the
Have you ever noticed yourself yawning when someone else yawns? I noticed my dog mirror my yawn today. Curiously, dogs are quite savvy with it … they respond more frequently to genuine yawns than fake ones. We mirror a lot more than just yawning, sometimes without realizing we’re doing it. If we see someone burn
Did you ever think about buying something, like a type of car, then find that you’re seeing it everywhere? Whereas before you thought about buying it, you barely noticed it? That’s our brain’s spam filter at work, adjusting what information we let in. We see what we focus on and filter out the rest. It’s
“I’m not creative” … has that thought ever crossed your mind? Or do you know someone who believes it to be true? Are some people really not creative? The more I work with teams on creativity, the more I’m realizing this is not at all true. Someone may have lost their creative confidence, but it
When we think of how we come up with ideas, people often refer to the “eureka” moment, that moment where there is a flash of inspiration and suddenly we have a new idea. But new ideas are built off other ideas … it’s cumulative. So it helps to expose yourself to many new things, so
Young kids naturally seem to come up with creative ideas. They don’t evaluate the ideas, or stop to think if they’ll work, or worry about whether they’re wrong. They just say whatever pops into their head. As far as kids are concerned, every problem can be solved. Perhaps with a little help from their favorite
Our life experiences help shape who we are, how we think and where we focus. Sometimes we immerse ourselves in a particular field and become good at it. This has many benefits of course, but when it comes to generating new ideas, it can also make things more difficult. Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, a 19th
Have you ever come up with an idea for how to solve a problem while doing something completely unrelated to the problem? Maybe you were out driving the car, or cooking dinner, or perhaps an idea just popped into your head when you woke up one morning? A great way to come up with a new
How do new ideas happen? Where do they come from? To create something new, a new sequence of neurons needs to fire in the brain. New ideas form when we put new connections together. “For creative thought, you don’t imagine something new .. You take in things from the outside and make a new connection
Body language reveals more about your feelings and meaning than your words. Dr Albert Mehrabian found that “the verbal component of a face-to-face conversation is less than 35% and that over 65% of communication is done non-verbally“. In another study, Michael Argyle, a social psychologist, found that non-verbal communication is 12.5 times more powerful in communicating
In her bestselling book “Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, Susan Cain argues it is the introverts who think the most deeply. When doing qualitative work, listen to the quiet ones, not just the outspoken respondents