"To come up with the next iPad, Amazon or Facebook, the last thing potential innovators need is a group brainstorm session. What the pacesetters of the future really require, according to new Wharton research, is some time alone."
So starts a new piece out today over on Knowledge@Wharton, the site for the Wharton Business School. Under the title How Group Dynamics May Be Killing Innovation, the article — not attributed to a particular author — talks about the findings in a paper by Wharton professors Christian Terwissch and Karl Ulrich. The professors, along with co-author Karan Giotra, found that an ideation process where participants are given time to create on their own was far more fruitful than a "groupthink" session. The study challenges the idea that creating ideas is like manufacturing products.
"Manufacturers prefer 10 machines with good output over one very good
machine and nine really defective ones. You would rather have 10 good
salesmen than nine poor salesmen and one superstar. In those areas, what
matters is the total cumulative output, the total picture," Terwiesch explained. "When it comes to innovation, however, what really matters
is not getting many good ideas, but getting one or two exceptional
ideas. That's really what innovation is all about."
The professors behind the study promote the idea of a "hybrid" creative environment — part individual ideation, part group interaction — but their main point seems to be to give folks a break from the constant grind of trying to create in a crew. The very same thinking in line with Soloists and the Solocrafting environment we talk in our book, I Hate People!
Check out the full article here.
— Marc Hershon