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Are people really biased against creative thinking? - Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
heleninwales
heleninwales
Are people really biased against creative thinking?
I found this article via a link on Google+, but my response grew too long for a comment. Are people really biased against creative thinking, or are they just being sensible?

I'm hoping that the research was more thorough and better thought out than the article describing it because I disagree with what appears to be a fundamental point in their argument. Where they say: "People dismiss creative ideas in favor of ideas that are purely practical," I don't see that as an either/or. Genuine creative thinking is what led to the technologies of today. It was practical as well as novel.

As ab3a said in the comments to the article: "Too many fools think that they have a better idea without any understanding of what the present systems do or what assumptions it is built upon.

In other words, I'm all for thinking outside the box, as long as you know where the old box is, and what is inside it.

Most do not. Resistance to change is a good thing at this rate. It keeps us from throwing out many babies with the bathwater
."

Just having wild and wacky ideas is not creativity. (IMHO, of course!) Also, I would want to be reassured that the researchers are not confusing scepticism with an unthinking resistance to change. The article gives the example of test subjects having a negative reaction to a running shoe equipped with nanotechnology that adjusted fabric thickness to cool the foot and reduce blisters. Firstly, do these shoes actually exist and were they allowed to try them out, or were they being asked to judge an idea? Because if it were the latter, I can think of some potential problems with the idea that would make me sceptical about how it would work in practice. Presumably my lack of enthusiasm would be seen as resistance to creativity, but that would give a false impression because I'm all for genuine creative thinking, just not in favour of blindly adopting untested gimmicky ideas.

Before enthusiastically adopting these new shoes, I would want the answers to various questions. Will the thinning and thickening of the fabric alter the size of the shoe and the way it fits as I run? Will it make them alternate between being too tight or too loose? Who wants to have to keep stopping to adjust their shoelaces? Even if the idea works perfectly, how much will they cost and will they be as durable as ordinary running shoes? Is the nanotech likely to break down so they fail catastrophically just as you are sprinting for the finish line?

Change for change's sake is what produces things like Microsoft's Word 2010. After having a standard way of doing things, the old menus was thrown out and the result is that skilled users were reduced to stumbling about like complete beginners. Things that took about three mouse clicks now become difficult to find. I'm sure it was the result of some "creative thinking", but did it actually improve the product?

[Because LiveJournal still sometimes seems a bit wobbly, this was posted to Dreamwidth http://heleninwales.dreamwidth.org/5820.html and then crossposted to LJ. If you want to leave a comment, please use whichever site you find most convenient. Comments so far: comment count unavailable.]

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

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Comments
lizziebelle From: lizziebelle Date: August 27th, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Like the old chestnut: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: August 27th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
That tends to be my mantra too. Having said that, I will happily adopt new ideas, working methods etc if they are better than the way I'm doing it at the moment. I will give a new idea a chance, but if it doesn't work out, I will just as quickly go back to the old method.
lizziebelle From: lizziebelle Date: August 27th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, same here.
del_c From: del_c Date: August 27th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Every body remembers the first step in brainstorming, where you come out with any idea that pops into your head, and it gets written down, no criticism allowed. Nobody remembers the next step, which is where the written ideas get criticised.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: August 27th, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very true! I am actually quite quick to pick up and try new ideas, but if they don't work in practice, then I'm not interested in novelty just for its own sake.
rymrytr From: rymrytr Date: August 28th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)


You put it all, very well indeed!


6 comments or Leave a comment