If you want to be your most creative self, research suggests that you should start your day in a cave–and find a way to make it an expected thing with your team.
Why? Because as Kellogg School of Management professor Leigh Thompson tells Fast Company, people have work styles that range from an independent to an interdependent orientation, sort of like how people are introverts or extroverts, with ambiverts in the middle. The independent worker will kindly ask that you leave her alone while she gets her work done–while the interdependent worker can’t function without being around others.
“Let the independent start the day in her cave.”
The thing is, she says, you need both:
“Creativity happens when you work independently,” she says, echoing our finding that insight comes from not having distractions. “Individuals are really good at generating a whole lot of ideas, while groups are good at selecting, shaping, and refining those ideas.”
Unfortunately, the way we structure our days–and our meetings–doesn’t tend to reflect this understanding: Research has shown that people have worse ideas when asked to brainstorm in a meeting rather than when they’re asked to ideate on their own. The new groupthink has already set in, fizzling insights before they’re ready to be uncorked. [read]