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Creativity is NOT a Contact Sport – The Dark Side of Brainstorming

Creativity requires solitude

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed silence and space in relationship to creativity. This week, a good friend shared an interesting New York Times article with me on brainstorming and creativity that not only supports that idea, but moves the conversation significantly forward.

Specifically, she discusses the benefits of solitude in fostering creativity versus the very real and long-in-the-works movement in our society to take away that solitude in service of expanding creativity – a practice that has been shown through research, as well as anecdotally by some of history’s greatest thinkers and creators to:

-Decrease creativity

-Decrease learning

-Decrease the quality of ideas

Anyone who’s heard my diatribe against sharing ideas too soon has gotten a glimpse of my beliefs about the importance of alone time and solitude in creating.

I’m also not a fan of brainstorming sessions (they are great for sharing thoughts, but not for developing the best final product) and typically retreat into my own little world when working in a group in order to come up with the actual ideas.

After reading this article, I know I’m not alone.

As reporter Susan Cain states, collaboration and teamwork are important for certain aspects of creation, and certainly have their place, but these concepts as realized by open-space offices, group work in schools and as a replacement for solitude, are simply not generating the outcomes expected in terms of greater creativity and innovation.

Per Cain, the best-producing teams come together to share ideas, make critical human connection, but do the actual creative work solo.

Cain has also wrote a book about the power of introverts.

Enjoy her article. It really says it all: The Rise of the New Groupthink

To the wonder of walls,

Susan B.