Research has actually plainly shown that people’s imagination tends to increase or remain consistent over the course of an ideation session. Most of us consistently ignore the worth of perseverance in the imaginative procedure– a fallacy the authors refer to as the “creative cliff impression.” While it holds true that we tend to produce fewer concepts the longer we conceptualize, we improperly presume that decrease in performance correlates with a decrease in the creativity of the ideas we come up with. And this misperception can lead us to stop brainstorming too early, prior to we have actually reached our best concepts. Fortunately, the authors’ research likewise recommends that increased awareness of this phenomenon– either through prior experience with the reality of imaginative work, or through explicit education– can reduce its effectiveness. Based on these findings, the authors propose a number of tactical techniques for supervisors seeking to foster imagination in their groups, consisting of explaining and advising people about the counterintuitive nature of the innovative process, reserving additional time for ideation, and consistent experimentation and model to improve how groups develop originalities.
As companies large and small face unprecedented difficulties, promoting the creativity necessary to establish truly development ideas has actually ended up being more vital than ever. In order to live up to our creative capacity, we should first comprehend how the innovative process really works.
Prior research study has revealed that individuals’s first concepts are rarely their most imaginative. Creating simply one development concept usually requires a lengthy brainstorming procedure, in which you generate and iterate on a big pool of prospective alternatives before finally reaching your most creative idea.
In spite of this truth, nevertheless, the majority of people regularly ignore the value of persistence in the creative procedure. In our research study, we document a fallacy we call the “innovative cliff impression”: Although imagination, in fact, tends to either increase or stay the same throughout an ideation session, individuals presume that creativity drops off gradually.
We explored this phenomenon– and what managers can do to overcome it– with a series of research studies in which we asked individuals to anticipate how their imagination would alter over the course of an ideation session. We ran these experiments using a variety of different innovative analytical tasks, and throughout a number of various sample populations in the U.S., consisting of university students and working adults.
We discovered that the comedians who were more specific that their early ideas would be their best concepts stopped ideating quicker. These comedians ended up submitting fewer jokes and, notably, less of the jokes that these comedians did submit were rated as being extremely imaginative– suggesting that if you think your very first ideas will be your finest ideas, you’re more likely to stop the creative process prior to your real best concepts are uncovered.
When generating concepts (or, for that matter, completing any job that requires mental energy), productivity does tend to decline over time, and individuals typically take the ease of producing concepts as a signal of the quality of those ideas. In other words, people recognize that their performance decreases over time, and so they believe the imagination of the concepts they produce should decline. In the imaginative process, the concepts that are most quickly accessed tend to be the most obvious ones, and it’s only by digging more deeply that more novel, imaginative ideas lastly emerge.
Fortunately, not everyone is equally vulnerable to the imaginative cliff impression. We found that people who reported engaging in innovative work more frequently were less likely to presume that creativity decreased over time, suggesting that individual experience with creative work can assist people to overcome their flawed assumptions about the innovative process.
Given these findings, there are a couple of things that supervisors can do to assist their groups reset their expectations about the creative process and empower them to establish more creative ideas:
1. Inform Your People
Our research showed how prevalent the innovative cliff illusion is– however it also illustrated that a much better understanding of the phenomenon can lower its potency. Managers ought to educate their groups about the imaginative cliff illusion, and discuss that their first ideas are not likely to in fact be as important as the ones that emerge later on in the procedure.
In addition, managers can remind people that when their performance decreases and they start to seem like they’re lacking ideas, that doesn’t really mean that they are running low on creativity. While it may be uneasy, that feeling is actually the mind pushing its cognitive limits and searching for novel connections– 2 essential conditions for producing innovative ideas.
2. Purchase Your Creative Process
There is no set formula for success (e.g., committing X percent more time to the ideation process will give you Y percent more innovative concepts). There are a number of methods to ensure you’re offering key innovative processes the time and attention they require:
- Set aside more time for creative processes than you might think is needed– whether that suggests an extra ideation session, a longer brainstorm, and even devoted buffer time that can be utilized for extra meetings if required.
- Ask your team to produce 2 or even three times as lots of concepts as you think you need, particularly in the early phases of ideation. Setting aggressive idea quotas can help people push past more obvious, early-stage ideas and uncover really novel opportunities.
Next time you run a workshop, track when the best ideas were in fact generated. Did increasing your team’s concept quota result in more highly-creative proposals? Checking out these various variables can assist you adjust your process and capture your group’s imaginative capacity.
The imaginative cliff impression is extremely common– but it’s also something that managers can help their groups conquer, through a combination of education and procedure enhancements. With the techniques detailed above, leaders can assist their individuals comprehend how creativity really works, and construct an imaginative process that emphasizes the value of late-stage concepts. While it might take some extra work, that effort will be rewarded when you reach the potentially game-changing concepts that are uncovered through a lengthier ideation process.