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Procrastinating means more creativity

Kirjoitettu 03.10.16
Esseen kirjoittaja: Janita Mikkola
Kirjapisteet: 2
Kirja: Video: The Surprising habits of original thinkers / How to get your ideas to spread
Kirjan kirjoittaja: Video: Adam Grant / Seth Godin
Kategoriat: 9.07. Innovointi

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Some years ago my dad told me about a CEO of a company, that he used to hire lazy people for a specific, difficult task. Why? Because they find the easiest and most effortless way to do things, which saves the company’s resources. They use their creativity to make things simpler and to “get off the hook”, so to speak.

Adam Grant gives an example of what he though was unnecessary procrastinating and laziness: Warby Parker, a company that sells design eyeglasses online. The two guys asked Grant to invest in them in the very beginning. They had back-up jobs and had no guts to build the business full-time. Six months passed, and they didn’t even have a decent website out (that IS their whole company; a website, an online store!), so Grant did not invest in them. Little did he know what Warby Parker was to become.

Original thinkers rarely get it right the first time. They’re just like us; people with ideas. They fear, they doubt, they procrastinate and have a lot of bad ideas. But most of us just never carry out those ideas. Why? Because we’re afraid that we’ll look ridiculous carrying out silly ideas. But like Seth Godin on his TED Talk said, we don’t remember Edison invented a creepy doll that scared not just the kids, but the adults too. We remember him for inventing the light bulb! “You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones” –Grant. Bad ideas are part of the process.

Adam Grant presents our usual creative process:

  1. This is awesome!
  2. This is tricky…
  3. This is crap.
  4. I am crap.
  5. This might be okay..!
  6. This is awesome!

This was so me when I lead the TeamUp! –project. The idea was good in the beginning, then through quite many conversations with other team entrepreneurs and coaches, the scale of the amount of work lead me to think it’s going to be a bit rough ride. Then at one point, the idea of the event changed a little bit, and more like thinking that the idea was crap, I kind of skipped the phase three and leaped straight to “I am crap.”

You can motivate yourself by doubting your ideas – but you should never doubt yourself. Doubting yourself paralyzes and can easily stop all the progress. Doubting only your idea can motivate you to test and experiment further.

Apart from “normal thinkers”, original thinkers seem to avoid the leap from step three to step four. As Grant advices, know that “first drafts are always crap, I’m just not there yet.” You have no real reason to doubt yourself; the more “bad ideas” you have, the closer you are to the good ones.

With idea development, there’s a certain group of people who are perceived as more creative than others. There are the “pre-crastinators” who always rush everything ready way before the deadline. They don’t give much pondering time for creativity to really bloom, and besides, they are usually so stressed about the deadline that their mind can’t produce new ideas. Then there are the procrastinators, who wait until the last minute to do things and keep themselves so busy goofing off, that they don’t have any ideas.

In the sweet spot in the middle are the originals, who moderately procrastinate while they work on the task at hand.

originals1

Grant and his research team made a little experiment with a group of people, which they split in three groups.

  1. Group one was given a task and they had to start solving it right away
  2. Group two was given a task and they got to play Minesweeper for 5 minutes after the task announcement
  3. Group three was given a task and they got to play Minesweeper for 10 minutes after the task announcement

The task was to generate business ideas, and after the test other people rated how creative and useful they were. Here are the results: Group two was 16% more creative with their task than the other groups. Only with moderate amount of procrastinating. Notice, that the group one with only the task and deadline was the least creative.

originals2

Some time apart from the task usually gives time for the idea to incubate and think more diversely. It stops the brain from proceeding (too) linearly, which gives more space to unexpected leaps.

Janita Mikkola

Osuuskunta Wedia
janita@wedia.fi
040 521 2920

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