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Friday, May 4, 2012

How to Generate a Good Idea (at Moments of Genius)

Big Think is one of the leading blog platform on internet nowadays and the information they provide is on high merit. Their mission is stated as "we aim to help you move above and beyond random information, toward real knowledge, offering big ideas from fields outside your own that you can apply toward the questions and challenges in your own life." Another gem added to this treasure is- Moments of Genius, Using Cognitive Science to Unleash Your Hidden Creativity, a blog by Sam McNerney. Here is a cross-post of a recent article on this blog (May 3, 2012, 12:00 AM). I hope the readers will find it interesting.

Photo%20for%20post"Several years ago, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister conducted a study that measured the productivity of computer programmers. Their data set included more than 600 programmers from 92 companies. According to Susan Cain, author of the recently released book Quiet: The Power of Introverts, DeMarco and Lister found that what distinguished the best programmers was not experience or salary, but privacy: personal workspace and freedom from interruption.
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The lesson? Picasso was right. “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” So was Steve Wosniak, who in his memoir explained that, “most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me … they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists… And artists work best alone …. I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.”
But let’s not forget that during that collaboration and feedback from other people are essential to the creative process at certain points. This is why English coffeehouses were central to the Enlightenment. As the writer Steven Berlin Johnson says, “[they] fertilized countless Enlightenment-era innovations; everything from the science of electricity, to the insurance industry, to democracy itself.” They were a place where ideas went to have sex, as Matt Ridley says. (Replacing a depressant – alcohol – with a stimulant – caffeine – didn’t hurt either."

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