What better way to illustrate how experience of a stimulus (held constant) is shaped by environmental factors than to examine how our experience of food changes according to the ambiance of the dining area? Check out the findings in Eating in a cafeteria makes food taste worse. Even when factoring out the possibility of particular odors in the environment impacting the taste of food, visual information remains an important factor as many of us know intuitively. Our interpretation of this visual information transforms our experience. Some examples from common knowledge: Continue reading
Everywhere I look, various experts are heralding the benefits of group work over solo, independent work. Insisting on working alone is selfish they say. Collaboration fosters more creativity than solo work they say. It’s one thing to be describing the work style that brings out the best for the bulk of the “bell curve,” however if there’s one valuable lesson to learn from decades of studying psychology it’s that, when it comes to people, it’s impossible to generalize about a great, many things. Still worse is to subject the people who don’t fit to the “tyranny of the majority.”
So here I am working alone, independently on my blog and other creative writing, art, and musical side projects. I’m blissfully happy. Life seems great. Everything seems alright with the world. And yes, any creative inspiration that has struck me may owe its existence to the synergy of ideas I’ve gained in past encounters with people, films I’ve watched, and books I’ve read. However, I am producing my work now alone, on my own and it feels great. So the last thing I wish to witness is a mass movement that pushes one style of working (group work) over another (solo work).
Those of you who know what it’s like to be a “misfit” in one way or another, I think, can appreciate how statements about working “this way” or “that way” is better for everyone are ill-thought out. To maximize productivity and creativity across a whole society, it would be ideal to maximize freedom for everyone to work in the way that suits each person best. If you are most productive and creative while working in a more collaborative manner… great! If someone else is most productive and creative while working alone… great! Different strokes for different folks. The Industrial Age is characterized by standardized, one-size-fits-all work policies. Here’s hoping that the push towards group work with the simultaneous denouncement of solo work goes the way of the Industrial Age as well.
To my relief, I’m not alone in my leaning towards working alone. In this post, Patrick Ross makes a powerful argument about not making this an either-or situation. While celebrating the ways in which today’s digital tools foster collaboration, it’s not necessary or even desirable to denounce solo, independent work. As it turns out, many writers and artists would agree.
- Should Collaboration be King? (sherrylangland.com)
By the way, if you are interested in optimizing collaboration, the next Better Collaboration online Meetup, takes place on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2:30-4:00 pm EST (11:30-1:00 pm PST): Innovating the way dispersed teams collaborate!
Featured speaker in this event will be Paul Brody, CEO and Co-Founder of Sococo. Sococo is an innovative tool for fostering impromptu collaboration without having to physically be at the same place. Everyone can see who is around and, with one click, can immediately start a conversation or meeting (voice, video, chat, multiple screen shares).
These educational video conference series are geared towards organizational leaders wishing to learn more about improving collaboration and productivity through the use of online tools. Visit the Better Collaboration website or register here at on the Better Collaboration meetup page!
Originally posted on The Artist's Road:
Consider yourself lucky you’re not my wife. Every morning she is forced to endure a rant from me about something I’ve read in that day’s Washington Post. Sundays provide multiple opportunities for fist-shaking, but one editorial this past Sunday hit a nerve: the topic was creativity.
The headline said it all: “The end of lone-wolf capitalism.” For years now digital utopians have first insisted that we all believe in a myth that creativity and innovation comes from solitary thinkers; then they knock down their straw man by pointing to the power of collaboration. Citing the Firefox browser (volunteers maintain and upgrade it) and Facebook (the content comes from us, not Mark Zuckerberg), Neal Gabler wrote this: “In our global, networked economy, the lone wolf is rapidly becoming an anachronism, one that threatens to impede innovation rather than fostering it.”
Perhaps I’m sensitive to the suggestion that…
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Having written about the problem of boredom at work (where an individual’s skill level surpasses the challenge of the tasks), lets turn now to one of the possible benefits of boredom… creativity! The following article was very interesting indeed: Being bored at work can make us more creative. Some excerpts follow:
Most of us think of being bored at work as a negative experience, but a new study suggests it can have positive results including an increase in creativity because it gives us time to daydream.
I do find that daydreaming fuels my creativity, although I can imagine this generally being a tough sell to employers. Also, it turns out that zoning out can also help boost creative problem-solving (see More Than Just ‘Zoning Out': Exploring the Cognitive Processes Behind Mind Wandering). Even better huh? Continuing on with the article: Continue reading
Introverts like myself heave a huge sigh of relief upon reading Susan Cain’s new book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. In the chapter titled, “When Collaboration Kills Creativity,” Cain explains the origins of this recent, increased call for in-office collaboration and presents compelling research studies that run counter to the assumptions and reasons behind the move towards the open office plan and the usually, taken for granted requirement for employees to work collaboratively in teams. Yes, I’ve always loathed projects that required teamwork in school and, although I can’t speak for everyone, I’ll say that I’ve always come up with creative ideas on my own while group brainstorming always inhibited idea generation. Continue reading
An issue recently came up with regard to describing oneself as an “independent thinker” on one’s resumé. One of my contacts in Human Resources advised me that this is generally construed as someone who doesn’t follow directions or is resistant to feedback from a supervisor. (I’m guessing that synonyms such as “autonomous” aren’t any better.) However, wherever I look, I see organizations that are interested in innovation as a matter of survival in today’s hyper-competitive world. Hence, I also keep seeing demand for workers who can contribute a fresh outlook and think creatively. Continue reading