Authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman point to a 1958 study by Yale researchers, which, reportedly, found that “brainstorming in a group… actually reduced a team’s creative output.”
Jonathan Vehar, president and cofounder of New & Improved, is having none of it. The day Newsweek published, Vehar blogged a convincing rebuttal explaining that the Yale project only evaluated whether it is better to brainstorm alone or in a group. No indictment of brainstorming there. [FWIW, sometimes it’s better in a group, sometimes it’s better alone.]
Moving right along… the Newsweek article also reported on research by University of Oklahoma Professor Michael Mumford who, according to the authors, condemned available creativity training, calling it "garbage." Maybe Mumford did say that, but I couldn't verify it. On the other hand, Marty Baker, who blogs at Creativity Central, is convinced that “Newsweek got it wrong.”
“’[The article] is a manifestation of what’s wrong with media summaries," Marty declares. "It is a titillating and provocative sidebar that readers will remember without context ... It doesn’t say what Mumford identifies as commercially available creativity training. It does not give particulars about the Yale study back in 1958 -- over a half a century ago.”
True, I noticed all that. And yet... Bronson and Merryman cite a ton more research supporting their seven creative musts. “Don’t tell someone to be creative [Mark Runco, University of Georgia]; “Follow a passion” [Rena Subotnik, American Psychological Association]; “Explore other cultures” [Adam Galinsky, Northwestern]. Etc. Etc.
So where's the truth? I guess I could track down and verify every one of the citations .. and every one of the inevitable disclaimers to the citations. But even having done that, how sure would I be that anybody understands anything about creativity?
Beats the heck outta me. I’m just gonna get out my crayons and see what happens.
-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo