The point of the article is that CREATIVITY DOES NOT HAPPEN IN GROUPS. It’s an important read for everyone in business or education – and one that holds support more than surprise for those of us who spend our lives creating on demand.
It’s why, at the first graduate program I founded, we built a quiet room into our facilities – a place for meditation and uninterrupted thought, deep or otherwise.
It’s why my husband and I attribute our long and wonderful relationship to the fact that we consider it perfectly civil to say, “Would you do me a personal favor and shut the …. up?”
It’s why we named our dog “Ray” after Raymond Carver and his short story, “Will You Please be Quiet Please”. Which he is not.
It’s why Ric Grefe, former Executive Director of AIGA called me a “failed introvert”, and why I loved it.
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In truth, it is inaccurate to say that groups are not important and don’t have their role. But it is absolutely critical to dispel this notion that everyone needs to participate in everything trying to be new. As for the adage that “none of us is as smart as all of us”, I have always felt it was at least equally true that “none of us is as dumb as all of us, either”.
Deep understanding of the creative process is required, but scarce in business. There is a rhythm to creation and collaboration – coming together, iterating, going away, using silence, solitude. There are certain components of the process best done in groups, others best done by individuals or pairs. Each has its place, but insensitivity to the natural rhythms is counterproductive and frustrating. Also it’s important to understand every member of the team. Some people aren’t comfortable in white space, when you don’t yet have the solution, which is such a critical part. They need always to know the next step. They can disrupt and shut down progress. Facilitators rarely do the homework to think through who is in the group, what their needs and temperaments are, but it’s a critical part of the process.
I hope that everyone (and there are billions of you) who organize brainstorming sessions and can’t figure out why you are left with nothing but a bunch of post-it notes take note of Susan’s article.
There is an African proverb that says, “Alone I have seen many marvelous things. None of which are true.” I would only add, for all of us solitary dreamers…”yet”.
Here’s to loners and introverts.