Curiosity’s effect on Creativity, and how to harness it
In 1968, a test was given to both children and adults measuring creativity. 98% of 5 year old’s scored at the ‘Genius Level,’ while a solid 2% of adults made the same category.
Originally devised for NASA as a test for identifying innovation in engineers and scientists they were recuiting, the test measured divergent thinking: the ability to look at a problem and come up with multiple solutions, a reflection of someone’s ability to generate creative ideas.
And despite many years passing since the original experiment, the hypothesis holds true, as one of the original researchers, Dr George Land, discussed in his 2013 TED Talk.
So why are we being so far outperformed by our little people?
Anyone who’s been around toddlers will have heard the question ‘but why’ before. Enough ‘but whys’ and you’ve probably found yourself answering with ‘I don’t know why’. They’re asking why because they don’t know the answer; their knowledge base is small, and they’re curious.
Whereas for adults, as our knowledge increases within particular fields, we begin to solve problems using what we already know: in short, we no longer need to be curious as to how we might solve it. People with less knowledge in particular areas will draw on knowledge from other areas to fill the gaps: their creativity will not be as confined, and they will need to be more curious to come up with an answer. Thinking in a more non-linear way, divergent thinking occurs more easily.
Creativity is an important skill. It’s crucial for innovating and moving forward. It helps problem solve, and therefore your ability to be able to deal with things when they don’t go as planned. It also helps with decision making; the more ideas you can come up with to compare, the better your outcome will be. Plus, productivity increases when you can find new ways around blockers.
Anyone can be creative, you just have to practice it. And being curious is a great way to expand on that practice. Keep asking why and continue to increase your knowledge base. Expand learning into different fields, read topics you normally wouldn’t. Dig deeper on questions you ask, and take the time to really listen to someone else. Look to think outside of what you know when coming up with creative solutions.
Here at AFFINITY, Curiosity is one of our four values – it supports our purpose of championing the power of thinking. We have library hour once a week where we can learn anything we want, unrelated to what we normally do at work. Often, we find ourselves bringing things we’ve learned back into our work to do things in ways we wouldn’t have considered before.
AFFINITY has a strong practice in Employee Experience (EX) both internally, and with many of our clients. Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to look at ways of enhancing your EX for better business outcomes.
Better input always leads to greater outcomes
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