Seasons of Creativity
The Creativity Guru
by keithsawyer
3M ago
I’m a believer in deliberate creativity. For a creative life, you need to develop habits of mind and ways of working that consistently lead to effective creative work. You don’t just wait for a great idea. Instead, you engage in a daily discipline. If you’re guided by the eight habits of creativity (outlined in my book Zig Zag) you can trust that ideas will emerge from the process. So I was skeptical at first when I read Cal Newport’s article in the Sunday New York Times (February 18, 2024). It’s an excerpt from his new book Slow Productivity. His thesis is that creative people are really crea ..read more
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The “Bible of Creativity” Just Published!
The Creativity Guru
by keithsawyer
3M ago
The “bible of creativity” is what people call my book Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation. Just last month, January 2024, the third edition was published! In the years since the 2012 second edition, people have started calling it the creativity bible. That’s because it’s the definitive overview of the science of creativity. In this book, you’ll find just about everything that’s ever been discovered by researchers. There are chapters about cognitive psychology, personality psychology, creativity assessments, social groups and networks, culture and creativity…the list goes on ..read more
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“Unlocking the Creative Mind” video available
The Creativity Guru
by keithsawyer
11M ago
Great news! The Aspen Ideas Festival has made videos available for all talks and panels. The audio and video production is quite professional and I think you’ll enjoy Unlocking the Creative Mind: The Science Behind Innovation and Imagination with me, Sheena Iyengar, and Annie Murphy Paul. Plus, there are some great still photos here ..read more
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Finland’s Maker Pedagogy Project
The Creativity Guru
by keithsawyer
11M ago
I just returned from a fascinating trip to Helsinki. I’m an external advisor on a research grant that’s studying how educators use studio practices of making to guide students to learn creativity more effectively: the MakerStudioPeda project. Here’s how the researchers describe the project: The rapidly transforming innovation-driven knowledge society emphasizes the importance of non-routine problem solving, design thinking capabilities, and creativity. The revolution of digital technologies provides new instruments and materials for creative design and production. In this light, MakerStudioPed ..read more
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Creativity Needs Contact
The Creativity Guru
by keithsawyer
1y ago
Ideas flow between people, joining together, in unpredictable combinations–this is the source of surprising new ideas. A new study shows that physical, in-person encounters make it more likely for new creative combinations to result in a patentable invention, a striking example of group genius. Breakthrough innovations emerge, unpredictably, from a wandering and improvisational process. The most dangerous creativity myth is that creativity starts with a brilliant idea, and that successful innovation is an execution of that brilliant idea. It’s just the opposite: Creative ideas emerge from acti ..read more
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When Success Leads to Failure
The Creativity Guru
by keithsawyer
1y ago
When a basketball team wins a game, the team becomes more reliant on its star players. This is even more likely when the star players stand out far more than the other players. Of course, that makes sense. You want to keep doing what works. But here’s the problem: It makes your team start losing more, according to a recent study by three business school professors. Here are the key findings: When a basketball team wins a game, then in the next games, they start to pass the ball more to their stars and the stars shoot a higher percentage of the shots. This decreases the chance they’ll win the ..read more
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New Study Shows that Creativity Drops When You Move to a Big Company
The Creativity Guru
by keithsawyer
1y ago
Small startups are the drivers of innovation. Inventors start companies, develop their ideas, secure financial backing, line up customers, and grow organically. Think about all of those stories of inventors in garages, cooking up the new ideas that change our lives. Big companies are always worried that some small company is out there, plotting to bring them down with a disruptive new innovation. Established companies want to replicate the secret sauce of innovation in small companies. My own research has identified the best ways for companies to do this. The key is to foster the collaborative ..read more
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How to Know if You’re a Writer
The Creativity Guru
by keithsawyer
1y ago
My favorite quotation about writing is by the German novelist Thomas Mann (1875-1955): “A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” If you’re good at something, it should be easier for you, right? But I agree with Thomas Mann. If writing is easy for you, then you’re almost certainly not a writer. (The photo above is Mann at work.) A few years ago, I chatted with a colleague who was retiring from his administrative position here at the university. In retirement, he planned to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a writer. As soon as we sat down, he ..read more
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Are Teams More Creative When Everyone is Equal?
The Creativity Guru
by keithsawyer
1y ago
If you’ve read my books, you know that my answer is yes! The most innovative teams have something that I call group flow. It’s when a group is performing at its peak–realizing the maximum potential of the group. It’s more likely when everyone blends egos and participates equally. It’s the group version of your own personal flow state, a state of peak performance where you lose track of time and you’re fully concentrated on the task. In flow, you engage in the activity simply because you love being in that flow state. The experience itself is the motivation, not whatever external reward might c ..read more
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The French theorist who predicted ChatGPT in 1967
The Creativity Guru
by keithsawyer
1y ago
Here’s how a human author writes, according to French literary theorist Roland Barthes in 1967: “The text is a multi-dimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash. The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centers of culture… The writer can only imitate a gesture…his only power is to mix writings, to counter the ones with the others.” If you think ChatGPT isn’t creative, then Barthes would respond, neither is the human author. According to Barthes, the author never writes anything original. The “author” as a solitary genius is a ..read more
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