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Groupthink: The Brainstorming Myth Response

  Jonah Lehrer’s article Groupthink: The brainstorming myth was a very interesting read. It was filed with a lot of interesting statements as well as tips regarding Creativity. I found it extremely important how he touched base on the effects neglecting criticism has on brainstorming in collaborative groups. One quote I grew found of was “Forget quality; aim now to get a quantity of answers.” I found this an exceptionally imperative quote to remember because as creative innovators it is so easy to get discouraged by the first solution you may have thought of. It is also very easy to neglect other possibilities that could play a significant role on not only coming up with more ideas but also gaining advancements towards solving your problems. It was very interesting how an excessive amount of positive reinforcement can obstruct the creation of fresh concepts brought forth within a brainstorming session. The examples they used to support these assumptions were also remarkable such as the University of California experiment. A psychology professor named Charlan Nemeth divided two hundred and sixty five female undergraduates into teams of five.  The groups consisted of a standard brainstorming team with no criticism guidelines, a team who was assigned the debater’s condition, and the rest of the teams were given no guidelines to follow. Out of all of the teams, the team that was assigned the debaters condition devised the most creative concepts. This example reinforces the thesis that no criticism creates a counterproductive strategy. I found this very interesting but at the same time so true. I have been apart of various group assignments where people always kept quite and as a result nothing great was produced. I found when I brainstormed with selective individuals my creativity cultivated. These past experiences also taught me that sometimes you have to find the right person to inspire you to think but also, some people tend to brainstorm innovative and vital ideas on their own.

   Another interesting point was “exposure to unfamiliar perspectives can foster creativity”.  This thesis was proven during the free association experiment. I believe in this statement because the more new experiences you have and the more knowledge you receive, especially from learning or seeing things in a different way, the more you can advance on your creativity. It’s always interesting to observe how other individuals, and or cultures view certain aspects in life. It also opens up your advertising eye. It allows you to acknowledge what appeals to different walks of people culturally. This article reminded me as well that even the most creative people come up with the most predictable responses. Being original consists of getting past the first layer of predictability. I also found the results of Brian Uzzi’s experiment: Broadway success due to the cast’s familiarity and interactions, interesting as well. Brain discovered that the relationships among collaborators was a keen factor that determined a Broadway show’s success .He discovered that if  the Q, also known as the bliss point, is too high or too low, a Broadway show would result in failure but if the Q was right in the middle the Broadway show would result in a success.

   Another interesting relationship was the effects of architecture on verbal interactions. Steve job’s adjustments to the Pixar building and his belief that the best meetings happened by accident was both a captivated and a positive belief but it was tremendously humorous how he went about establishing it. Especially regarding the bathroom placement. Building 20’s history was also interesting. It would have been cool to gain access to a tour of the former facility. Bose collaboration with the engineers on a more advanced speaker was also my final interesting observation. This article really used concrete examples to support the idea that some of the most innovative ideas are conjured up during group interactions. It just bolsters the idea that finding a solidified network is an important task as a creator. It can pay the way to some of your best work.

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