Try Something New. We Dare You.

Research by Scott Barry Kaufman and Gregoire [2016] revealed that openness to new experiences is the number one predictor of creative achievement in both the arts and sciences.

In their book, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, they write “For not only artists but innovators of all stripes, novel experiences provide the crucial tissue of real-world material that can be spun into original work.”

What’s the link between creativity and novel experiences?

Creativity is all about making new connections.

Researchers at Washington University found that intelligence is determined by equal parts tip top gray matter and the strength of connections between different areas of the brain. Much like IQ, your creative clout is determined by your capacity to toggle between and connect different ideas in disparate parts.

Maria Popova, editor of BrainPickings, the online Aladdin’s Cave of thought-provoking curiosities, explains:

“… in order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new castles…The more of these building blocks we have, and the more diverse their shapes and colours, the more interesting our castles will become.”

How can you open yourself up to new experiences, collect more blocks and build better castles?

1. Turn off your auto-pilot. Psychologist Dr. Simone Ritter found that simply altering your daily routine [known as unlearning] can expose you to new experiences and boost creativity. Well-travelled neural pathways are abandoned and new connections made, leading to new and original ideas. Can you take a new route to work or put your clothes on in a different order tomorrow morning?

2. Indulge your curiosity and learn a new skill. Always wanted to stuff a dead mouse or master the trapeze? Now’s your chance.

3. Challenge yourself not to return to the same restaurant or takeout for at least a month. Yup. No more repeat orders on Deliveroo. Live dangerously.

So, now we know how exposure to shiny, new things boosts creativity. How does it impact a group?

Informational Diversity refers to differences in team member knowledge and outlook. It makes sense that a broad range of experiences in one room will generate a more diverse, creative output. However, planning for optimal Informational Diversity has other unexpected perks.

Working alongside individuals with alternative perspectives compels us to prepare in more detail, understand that consensus will be harder to reach [Loyd et al., 2013] and increases constructive conflict, maximising learning opportunities [Liang et al., 2010]. Diversity isn’t as simple as race, gender, social background or age. It’s about filling a petri dish with an eclectic mix of experiences and values, and seeing what comes out.

How do you encourage Informational Diversity in your team? Do you borrow brains from elsewhere or open up idea generation to the world wide web?


More from the blog

32303110
Design thinking: making it pay off | Intro

In this series, we look at the four biggest obstacles to making design thinking pay off, and show you how to overcome them.

Education Spotlight: A Spark of Student Innovation

Each year in Chattanooga, the Bright Spark student design competition floods the greater region with creativity and inspiration. Bright Spark is a social initiative that aims to ignite creative confidence in the education system by equipping students and educators with design thinking skills.

If everyone in the room thinks the same as you, get out of the room!

The eight-year-old version of me wanted to be a teacher or a scientist. The ultimate dream would have been a science teacher. But why?

Drop us a line to discuss how Sprintbase can help you.

Please enter your name

Loading...
We use HubSpot as our CRM platform. By submitting this form, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to HubSpot for processing. Learn more about HubSpot's privacy practices here.

Thank you!

A member of our team will be in touch shortly.

In the meantime...

Why not learn how to overcome the challenges and unlock the benefits of running remote innovation projects.

See more
Loading...

Building a design-driven culture in your organization?

Sprintbase has you covered.

Please enter your name

Loading...
We use HubSpot as our CRM platform. By submitting this form, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to HubSpot for processing. Learn more about HubSpot's privacy practices here.

Thank you!

A member of our team will be in touch shortly.

In the meantime...

Why not learn how to overcome the challenges and unlock the benefits of running remote innovation projects.

See more
Loading...

Want to make an even greater impact running design thinking projects with your clients?

Sprintbase has you covered.

Please enter your name

Loading...
We use HubSpot as our CRM platform. By submitting this form, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to HubSpot for processing and consent to allow Sprintbase to store and process the information submitted above in order to review your candidacy for joining the Sprintbase Consultant Network and to provide you with the requested materials. Learn more about HubSpot's privacy practices here.

Thank you!

A member of our team will be in touch shortly.

In the meantime...

Why not learn how to overcome the challenges and unlock the benefits of running remote innovation projects.

See more
Loading...

Equipping students with the practical innovation skills they need?

Sprintbase has you covered.

Please enter your name

Loading...
We use HubSpot as our CRM platform. By submitting this form, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to HubSpot for processing. Learn more about HubSpot's privacy practices here.

Thank you!

A member of our team will be in touch shortly.

In the meantime...

Why not learn how to overcome the challenges and unlock the benefits of running remote innovation projects.

See more
Loading...

Ready to run 100% virtual innovation workshops and projects

Solve important problems and embed new ways of working with our design thinking workshops and projects.

Learn how

Ready to run 100% virtual innovation workshops and projects

Enable your people to solve important problems and embed new ways of working along the way.

Find out more