IMAGINE HOW CREATIVITY WORKS PDF
This book explores the science of creativity. Some of the key enhancers of creativity include: Shifting attention and being open; Overcoming fear;. Quietening the. Imagine book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers . Did you know that the most creative companies have centralized bathrooms. IMAGINE: How Creativity Works. Pub. Date: March 19, ; Price: $; Pages: ; ISBN Jonah Lehrer's 5 Tips for Reaching Your.
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Imagine: How Creativity Works. Home · Imagine: How How to develop student creativity. Read more Collected Works 7 - Tradition And Creativity. Read more . Editorial Reviews. cittadelmonte.info Review. Amazon Best Books of the Month, March Imagine: How Creativity Works - Kindle edition by Jonah Lehrer. Print Get a PDF version of this webpage PDF. 'Imagine: How Creativity Works' by Jonah Lehrer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; March 19, ).
When we are lucky enough to be stricken with a particularly imaginative thought or creative idea, it often feels as though it is coming from outside of us—as though we are but the vehicle for its transmission. As a reflection of this, in the past artistic creativity was thought of as a force that was sent down from above, a gift from the gods that the artist was required to wait patiently for; the artist being but a vessel through which the force could act. The moment of epiphany is so sudden, so seemingly without precedent or cause, that it may seem to defy logical explanation, and hence to be outside of the bounds of scientific study. By taking us on a tour of very creative individuals, organizations, cities and cultures—and drawing on the latest in neuroscience and social psychology—Lehrer hopes to help us understand the stuff of creativity, and to help us cultivate it in our ourselves, and the organizations, cities, and cultures of which we are a part. The book itself is split into two parts, with the first part focusing in on creativity in individuals, and the second part concentrating on creativity in groups. When it comes to creativity in individuals, we learn that imaginative epiphanies originate in the right hemisphere of the brain—whose role it is to pull together disparate and seemingly unrelated ideas.
Lehrer takes scientific concepts and makes them accessible to the lay reader while dispensing practical insights that verge on self-improvement tips along the way. With these suggestions, his book implies, you too might be able to maximize your creative output. Lehrer largely avoids the sort of gauzy hypotheses and gross generalizations that undermined Mr. Lehrer shows how adept he is at teasing out the social and economic implications of scientific theories while commuting easily among the realms of science, business and art.
And he examines the art of improv, as taught by the Second City training center in Los Angeles, with the same appraising eye he brings to more arduous discussions of brain science. The 18th-century philosopher David Hume, Mr. Lehrer notes, argued that invention was often an act of recombination, of compounding an idea or transposing it from one field to another:. The Wright brothers used their knowledge of bicycle manufacturing to invent the airplane.
Their first flying craft was, in many respects, just a bicycle with wings. George de Mestral came up with Velcro after noticing burrs clinging to the fur of his dog. And Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed the search algorithm behind Google by applying the ranking method used for academic articles to the sprawl of the World Wide Web; a hyperlink was like a citation.
In each case, Mr. The InnoCentive Web site, started by an Eli Lilly executive in , has shown that solutions to difficult scientific problems which are posted online, with a monetary reward attached to each challenge are often solved by people working at the margins of their fields, who were able to think outside the box. In other words, Mr. Lehrer says: Being able to step back and view things as an outsider, or from a slightly different angle, seems to promote creativity, Mr.
Lehrer says. Lehrer says, showed that relationships among collaborators were one of the most important factors in the success of a show. If team members had too little previous experience working with one another, they struggled to communicate and exchange ideas. Here is a promotional video from InnoCentive explaining how their operation works: InnoCentive Promotional Video. InnoCentive Channel. Here is the website that the video mentions at the end: The reason why the outsider effect is so common, it is thought, is because people who are experts in a given field have a host of ideas that people in other fields do not have access to, but which ideas are nonetheless capable being applied to those fields loc.
Johannes Gutenberg transformed his knowledge of winepresses into an idea for a printing machine capable of mass-producing words. The Wright brothers used their knowledge of bicycle manufacturing to invent the airplane. Their first flying craft was, in many respects, just a bicycle with wings.
In addition to the fact that outsiders often have valuable knowledge and information that insiders do not have, it is also the case that insiders often fall into the conventional thinking that is associated with their particular field. Conventional thinking is anathema to creativity, of course, so we can see why those who are very new to a field, or who are outright outsiders, would have an advantage in terms of creative thinking loc.
The fact that innovations are spurred on by bringing together ideas from different fields is now beginning to be exploited by several businesses and organizations. For instance, the company 3M has established what it calls a Tech Forum: The guys doing nanotechnology are talking to the guys making glue.
This type of forum has now been widely copied loc. For instance, Google has established a similar event that it calls CSI: Crazy Search Ideas loc. The theme of horizontal sharing will be taken up again below in the section on creativity in businesses and organizations. Now, coming up with a creative idea is one thing, but the fact of the matter is that these creative ideas, when they do come to us, rarely show up in finished form.
The sobering reality is that the grandest revelations often still need work. Unlike the epiphany, which requires combining distant and seemingly unrelated ideas, the process of refinement requires intensely focussing on each particular element of the idea in turn. It requires minor and incremental tweaks and re-tweaks rather than major innovations loc.
And most of all, it requires persistence: As a prime example of painstaking determination, Lehrer urges us to consider the poet W. The author offers the following stanza as an example of this loc. Auden lavished months of attention on these lyrics, patiently fixing the flaws and cutting the excess… Auden was fully able to focus on the writing until it was lean and spare and ready for publication… relentless[ly] refin[ing] his words. Not surprisingly, our capacity to focus and concentrate intensely in order to refine our work emanates from a different part of the brain than our capacity for insight.
Interestingly, one of the ways that we can squeeze more creativity out of ourselves is by shutting down the mechanism that acts as a check on the flow of thoughts from the prefrontal cortex loc. While the DLPFC is certainly good at this role, it can also inhibit creativity, which is why improv actors warm up with exercises that work to shut this inhibitor down loc.
Returning to Auden now, it turns out that the poet actually had a bit of help with his work. It was the amphetamines that allowed Auden to keep his intense concentration for hours on end, and month after month: Interestingly, amphetamines allow us to focus more intently because they activate the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is itself a chemical that leads us to focus on particular objects in the environment loc.
As it happens, Auden was not the only creative individual who relied heavily on amphetamines. Dick, and Jack Kerouac loc.
Sadly, while amphetamines may help the creative process, they also have many negative side-effects. Also, while amphetamines may aid the creative process insofar as they help us concentrate and focus, they can also harm the creative process in that they inhibit insight and epiphanies: Now, on the bright side, amphetamines are not the only way to encourage the focus and persistence that is needed to perfect our ideas. Unfortunately, though, the next best alternative may be no better for our health.
For that alternative is none other than melancholy and depression. To begin with, the connection between creativity and depression is well-established. These findings have even been corroborated in the lab. For instance, the social psychologist Joe Forgas has repeatedly shown that sadness tends to increase creativity loc. In one experiment, Forgas manipulated the moods of his subjects by showing them either a film clip about cancer and death, or a neutral film clip. He then had his subjects compose writing samples.
What Forgas found is that his saddened subjects composed considerably better writing samples: Subjects made to feel sad have even been shown to be better collage artists loc. So, why is it that melancholy and depression contribute to creative output? Every last experimenter involved in the aforementioned studies and experiments agreed that it is because sadness induces us to be more attentive, and also more persistent in our work loc.
Again, though, as with the case of amphetamines, it does not take much to see that melancholy and depression are not exactly healthy states of being. In addition, like amphetamines, there is evidence to believe that while depression may increase our capacity for persistence, it can also block insight loc.
Indeed, we have good evidence to the effect that insight is actually aided by positive moods rather than negative ones loc. Jones investigated scientific production over the past 50 years by looking at both patents and peer-reviewed papers.
The increasing size of groups here is more than just a trend, it is an indication that only collective efforts are strong enough to produce successful patents and papers, and that the size of the networks needed to produce these successes has been growing over time. For Lehrer, the reason why this is the case is simple. Unless we learn to share our ideas with others, we will be stuck with a world of seemingly impossible problems.
‘Imagine: How Creativity Works,’ by Jonah Lehrer - The New York Times
As mentioned above, one of the ways that corporations have begun to take advantage of group creativity is through horizontal sharing, a process whereby the members of each department in an organization share their triumphs and tribulations with the members of every other department, in the hopes that this cross-pollination will spur new ideas and innovations. Some very notable companies take this principle of cross-pollination so seriously that they have begun to redesign their workspaces around it.
For instance, soon after Steve Jobs took over the animation company Pixar in , he designed the building that housed his new project to center around a huge airy atrium loc. The building was specifically designed in such a way that the workforce would have to pass through the atrium as much as possible everything important in the building was located in or beside the atrium, from the meeting rooms, to the cafeteria, to the mailboxes, and even the bathrooms [loc.
The reasoning behind this design was simple: Ed Catmull, a leading computer scientist with Pixar puts it this way: The strategy seems to be working.
Darla Anderson, an executive producer with Pixar, was sceptical at first loc. And you know what? He was right. Here is the short feature that got Pixar off and running and won them their first Oscar [loc.
Beyond the circumstantial evidence though, there is good scientific evidence to believe that increased employee interactions is an excellent recipe for success. For instance, Tom Allen, a professor of organization studies at MIT, undertook a study involving the interactions of the employees at a number of large corporate labs loc.
Interestingly, Allen found that the most productive employees were the ones who engaged in the most interactions with their colleagues: A similar study was performed by the sociologist Brian Uzzi, but this time on the financial traders of a large hedge fund loc.
Again, though, the same results emerged. Uzzi found that the most successful traders were the ones who carried on the most text-messaging conversations with their colleagues: While informal interactions may be an important contributor to creativity and productive output, sometimes groups of people need to work together closely and collaboratively in a more formal way—on a particular project, say.
#12. A Summary of ‘Imagine: How Creativity Works’ by Jonah Lehrer
Instead, you need the right mix of people, and the right approach. In an effort to determine just what the right mix of people for a group project consists in, Brian Uzzi the same sociologist just mentioned above undertook a major study of nearly every Broadway musical produced over the past years loc.
Uzzi considered the Broadway musical to be an optimal launching pad to study collaborative dynamics since it requires the collective effort of so many different types of people. Now, the Broadway musical community tends to be a fairly tight one, in that many of the contributors are known to one another, and have worked together on one project or another loc. However, what Uzzi noticed is that there was still a wide discrepancy between musicals in terms of how familiar the collaborators were with one another, and how often they had worked together before.
Uzzi then formulated a term to help capture the degree of relatedness of the collaborators on any given musical, and called this variable Q. Now, one might expect that the Broadway musicals with the highest Q scores would be the most successful, for the more familiar the collaborators are with one another, the better we would expect them to work together, and hence the more successful we would expect their productions to be.
However, this is not what Uzzi found. Instead, Uzzi found that the most successful Broadway musicals were the ones that had an intermediate level of Q: Now, this does not mean that the most successful musicals were the ones where all of the collaborators knew one another to the same middling degree. Rather, Uzzi found that the most successful teams were the ones where a good portion of the collaborators knew one another quite well, and which collaborators were joined by a moderate amount of new and unfamiliar talent.
This mixture meant that the artists could interact efficiently—they had a familiar structure to fall back on—but they also managed to incorporate some new ideas. As an extra bit of evidence that this mix of people is precisely the one that leads to success, Lehrer cites the fact that it is also the one that Pixar employs when it puts a project team together. For instance, Pixar relies on its brain trust of 10 directors to hash out the initial plot of a film, and then sends this sketch out to an independent screenwriter to write the script loc.
Group Project Strategies: Brainstorming Vs. Constructive Criticism. Now, the conventional wisdom is that the best way to get some good ideas out of a group is to begin with a solid session of brainstorming. As reasonable as this argument sounds, it turns out that it is just plain false. To begin with, several studies have compared brainstorming with an alternative strategy where group members are required to come up with ideas on their own.
The results of the studies are clear: The main problem with brainstorming, it seems, is that the very lack of criticism that is meant to allow creative ideas to bloom and flourish, actually ends up doing just the opposite. Indeed, it appears that a healthy measure of criticism is actually an integral component in contributing to the best ideas. On why you should stop trying to harness your brain, and instead help your brain get out of its harness.
Because we've all got experience with this. You're working on a creative problem, and then all of a sudden that feeling of progress disappears What you should do then — when you hit the wall — is get away from your desk. Step away from the office. Take a long walk. Find some way to relax. Get those alpha waves. Alpha waves are a signal in the brain that's closely correlated with states of relaxation.
And what scientists have found is that when people are relaxed, they're much more likely to have those big 'A ha! So when you hit the wall, the best thing you can do is probably take a very long, warm shower. The answer will only arrive once you stop looking for it. On the relationship between creativity and originality — and being triggered by other people's ideas. And a creative thought is simply Sometimes it's triggered by a misreading of an old novel.
Sometimes it's triggered by a random thought walking down the street, or bumping into someone in the bathroom of the studio. There are all sorts of ways seemingly old ideas can get reassembled in a new way.
He'd come up with seven videos for the new Nike ad campaign. He knew these different videos which featured different sports needed a shared slogan. But he just couldn't think of the slogan.
'How Creativity Works': It's All In Your Imagination
At some point during the day, somebody must've mentioned Norman Mailer to him. And so Norman Mailer was in the back of his head somewhere. His deadline's approaching.
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