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More Curiosity = More Creativity

Creative Minds

A Regular Column by Anthony D. Fredericks

More Curiosity = More Creativity

As children we are innately curious.  Our thinking is unfettered and our horizons are limitless.  We are willing to explore our world without boundaries, without restraints.  But, as we mature, our upbringing, our education, and our workplaces force us to become logical, pragmatic, factual, and…well, considerably less curious.  Knowing the answers, rather than asking the questions, becomes the priority.  Know lots of “stuff” and you can get good grades, get a good job, and have a good life.

Unfortunately, we have never been taught how to take advantage of our curiosity instincts.  True, we were curious as kids, but we grow increasingly less so as we progress through our lives.  Imbued with that “curiosity gene,” we are seldom given instruction as to how to take advantage of its powers for lifelong growth and profit.  It is one of those traits we often appreciate in youngsters, but seldom embrace in our own lives.

It was Albert Einstein who famously said, “I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious.”  He also went on to say, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.  Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”  For Einstein, curiosity was the engine that drove his creativity.  Curiosity is the catalyst for questioning and questioning is what propels us to seek out the unfamiliar and the unknown.  Curiosity is the fuel necessary for creativity to prosper and succeed.  For, without questions, knowledge becomes stagnant and immovable.  It does not move forward, nor does it have sufficient power to poke and peek and prod what may lie just below the surface or just slightly out of reach.

One research study in 2017 tested the link between curiosity and creative problem-solving.   What the researchers discovered, not surprisingly, was that general curiosity had a significant impact on the quality and originality of creative performance outcomes, even after accounting for differences in personality among the participants.  The implication was that constant questioning (active curiosity) creates a constant state of mental activity that moves us beyond a tendency for us to rely on what we already know.  In other words, we often assume that our knowledge about a work-related topic is above average and we are, therefore, not incentivized to move beyond that “box.”  Questions, on the other hand, stimulate us to look beyond, to look in new places, and to look past “comfortable” knowledge.  In short, the more curious we are, the more creative we can become.

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Dr. Anthony D. Fredericks is an award-winning author of more than 170 books, including From Fizzle to Sizzle: The Hidden Forces Crushing Your Creativity and How You Can Overcome Them as well as five other Blue River Press titles (e.g. Ace Your Teacher Interview). He also pens a regular blog for Psychology Today.com (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/ contributors/anthony-d-fredericks-edd)

 

 

Creativity as a Corporate Goal

Creative Minds

A Regular Column by Anthony D. Fredericks

Creativity as a Corporate Goal

Many business leaders subscribe to a belief that in order to stay competitive in an ever-changing world, they must embrace creativity and innovation as primary goals of an organization. A creative environment engenders new ideas, products, and approaches that can solve problems and offer goods and services that meet the immediate needs of a sometimes fickle buying public. To support that perception, IBM conducted a Global CEO Study several years ago. 1,541 chief executives, general managers, and public-sector leaders across thirty-three industries and sixty countries around the globe were surveyed. Approximately 60 percent of those executives cited creativity as the most important leadership attribute needed for future success.

Yet, in spite of an overwhelming embrace of creativity as a significant factor in the success of a business or organization, many companies have practices and principles in place that actually crush the creative spirit of their employees and seriously hamper the generation of new ideas and dynamic change. Indeed, there is a plethora of tales in which well-respected firms actively work against creative expression on an almost daily basis. In short, far too many businesses “talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.”

In his seminal book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation Steven Johnson makes a compelling case, not just for the generation of creative ideas, but also for the habitats that stimulate, foster, and enhance creativity in the first place. It is his contention that specific types of environments are necessary in order for creativity to prosper. These environments, according to Johnson, may encompass diverse locations including the office, nature, the home, or through an interaction with media. He caps his thesis with a most profound thought, “On a basic level, it is true that ideas happen inside minds, but those minds are invariably connected to external networks [physical environments] that shape the flow of information and inspiration out of which great ideas are fashioned.”

How’s your work environment?

[  ] Creatively supportive

[  ] A creative desert

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Dr. Anthony D. Fredericks is an award-winning author of more than 170 books, including the highly anticipated From Fizzle to Sizzle: The Hidden Forces Crushing Your Creativity and How You Can Overcome Them as well as five other Blue River Press titles (e.g. Ace Your Teacher Interview – 3rd Ed.). He also pens a regular blog  for Psychology Today.com (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/contributors/anthony-d-fredericks-edd)

 

 

 

 

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