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Lend me your mind's ear — communications and portals

Killing creativity: Is everyone thinking the same thing?

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What kills creativity?

Group think.

Patton said:

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

The leaden wings of group think

What is it about human nature that makes us want to be the same?

The first thing we do when a company, product, or idea becomes popular is jump on the bandwagon. Everyone has to have the same product. Some will stand in line. This is, of course, very profitable for any company selling that same product or idea.

Many companies thrive by creating this “need” we didn’t know we “needed”. But often the “need” we didn’t know we “needed” was actually an extension of something we do need everyday. For example, tools for communication.

How often have we reinvented pen and paper? The tools change, but the end result is the ability to create, to communicate.

Success, right? Success can be when the problem starts.

Think about the future!

While we can learn a lot from past successes, we can learn from manias also. Facebook’s IPO is a case in point. (It was valued at 100 times earnings!) It’s easier, in retrospect, to wonder how an IPO is worth 100 hundred times current earnings. It’s easier to look at a stock chart and say, yeah, it was overvalued after a big decline.

No wonder IPOs so seldom live up to the hype.

It’s easier to look at a product everybody had, and announce that the market had been saturated, after saturation.

It’s hard to do the same thing early. You have to go against opinion. You might be ridiculed. You might be ostracized.

Some of these voices demanding you conform will be shrill.

They might even tell you that if you stop thinking, you’ll start thinking.

But it’s diversity in thinking that truly creates.

And relationships don’t need to be adversarial. They can be focused on growth. For all parties. But that doesn’t mean you have to agree.

We fear creativity and often reject it.

But nobody will admit to it.

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of a current winner.  It’s much harder to pick the next winner.

It’s easy to pick a winner due to sheer momentum. Momentum will carry you forward for awhile. This is true whether you’re talking about a stock, a company or a product.

But in assessing now and moving into tomorrow, consider:

  • The rapidity of change in an environment or sector
  • The difficulty of maintaining leadership if you are one of the leaders
  • Increasing competition
  • Increasing negative feedback from consumers or users

The listening tree

Creative thinking demands the discussion of threats as much as it does strengths or opportunities. Rather than being ridiculed, people presenting reasons they think a company, product or idea won’t maintain its momentum are often the best opportunity to understand how to improve a product, service or idea.

And then, of course, there’s listening to your customers. Strategic listening is an art in itself.

Rather than plucking the last fruit from the tree, we need to grow new fruit.

We need seeds — and to plant new trees.

Related:

Collectivism and size drive unethical behaviour: The diffusion problem

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One Response

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  1. JH Rowe

    April 29, 2013 at 11:56 am


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