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Imagine - Chapter 6: The Power of Q

A presentation on Chapter 6 of Jonah Lehrer's Imagine: How Creativity Works

Ruth Naomi Levin

on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of Imagine - Chapter 6: The Power of Q

Chapter 6
How Creativity Works
by Jonah Lehrer Ben Jones
(prof of management at Kellogg school of business):
99% of scientific sub-fields have experienced increased levels of teamwork
Sizes of teams have increased by approximately 20% in the last decade The Importance of Working Together Levels of Q:
Too low: <1.7
(Not enough familiarity with each other's languages and working styles)
Too high: >3.2
(Overly familiar with each other and so are thinking in similar ways) Q Designed for interaction - only bathrooms located in the central atrium to force interaction

"Third places": (Ray Oldenburg - sociologist) not at home and not at the office. Bars, coffee shops etc.

Small talk is important, the majority might be about trivial matters but the cross-pollination is key to many breakthroughs "The Allen Curve"
Tom Allen, a researcher at M.I.T. found that employees who engaged consistently in more interactions out-performed those who engaged less

Brian Uzzi
Looked at the performance of stock market traders
Those with the largest amount of IM conversations were more successful than other traders Interaction
Performance The Importance of Criticism Lee Unkrich (producer at Pixar):
"...I'm not capable of surprising myself everyday with some great new idea. That kind of magic can only come from the group." The Story of
Toy Story II "All the low-hanging fruit is gone" :The easy problems have been solved Contemporary problems have increased in complexity and so a greater breadth of expertise is required to solve them. Broadway Musicals:
The perfect example of projects requiring group creativity The Ideal level of Q is 2.6:
A mix of old friends and newbies Workspace Layout Brian Uzzi & his research on Broadway musicals Pulling the
Red Cord Principle of the Toyota Assembly Line:
Anybody and everybody is responsible for noticing mistakes What about brainstorming? Doesn't criticism inhibit people's input? Lehrer points to several studies (including one run by Charlan Nemeth at UC Berekeley) that have all pointed to the fact that brainstorming with debate yields better results than brainstorming without any censorship. Lehrer (p.159):
"The only way to maximize group creativity - to make the whole more than the sum of the parts - is to encourage a candid discussion of mistakes...When you believe that your flaws will be quickly corrected by the group you're less worried about perfecting your contribution which leads to a more candid conversation. We can only get it right when we talk about what we got wrong." Dissent expands creative potential Test with the coloured slides:
"red", "red", " red"," red", "fuscia", "pink", "red"...
"You try to understand the strange reply which leads you to think about the problem from a new perspective."
Example from the group in terms of development of choreography? Was there a question raised that caused you to re-analyze an approach? Crit-Sessions Every morning with breakfast cereal and coffee
Incredibly efficient because everybody is able to learn from the mistakes of everybody else.
Catmull: "if a mistake slips through the production process, if we don't fix something that can be fixed, then it's everybody's fault. We all screwed up. We all failed to pull the red cord.
Plussing: Importance of adding to an idea if you're going to criticize it. Focused shifts from the mistake to how it might be fixed.
Finding Nemo & Disney: Rough first draft, where Pixar excels is fixing and improving their errors. Disney requested they make it as a 'straight to video' release. Catmull said: "You either make the best stuff you can or you shut up shop." Catmull: "Meltdowns are always painful, but they're a sign that we're still trying to do something difficult, that we're still taking risks and willing to correct our mistakes. We ave to be willing to throw our scripts in the trash." Lee Unkrich: "If it feels easy, then you're doing it wrong. We know that screw-ups are an essential part of what we do here. That's why our goal is simple: We just want to screw up as quickly as possible. We want to fail fast. Then we can fix it. Together.
"Well, it's okay..." Weiden + Kennedy Advertising Agency They then did the unthinkable and threw the script away. Moved everybody into one building and started fresh. "putting talented people in a room and letting them freely interact." The importance of having a voice:
Dan Weiden: "What I've learned to look for is the individual voice...I can show someone how to crop a photo. But I can't teach you how to have a voice. You either have something to say or not."
Needing to "stay original in a world of cliches"
The importance of weirdness
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