Why Companies Are Terrible At Spotting Creative Ideas

By December 11, 2013No Comments

An interesting thing happens within companies when it comes to creativity and innovation: some organizations, even those built on those principles, wind up inadvertently stomping it out. Xerox for example, repeatedly tried to discourage their own employee from finishing the first laser printer. Why does this happen? The answer may lie in the way in which people at the company frame their thinking.

In a study, two groups of participants were asked to evaluate some creative ideas. The first was told that they would see a few of the many possible solutions to the problem they were trying to solve. The second was told that the problem they were trying to solve needed a definitive answer. The first group was significantly more responsive to the creative ideas than the second. The second group, in fact, was not only less receptive, they rated the ideas as less creative than the first.

The importance here, is to realize that tiny cues significantly alter our ability to accept new ideas and evaluate them, and there’s a way we can help swing the pendulum in our favor:

When presenting a creative idea, focus on the “Why” not the “How”

This can be accomplished by asking your audience to consider why certain behaviors occurred, rather than simply presenting the findings and then asking them to consider your idea of how to fix them.