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Thursday, May 11, 2017


Are you disorganized? Research says that's a good thing. "In Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation" by Steven Johnson, he says "the more disorganized your brain is, the smarter you are." Across the board, in Johnson's book and other sources it seems pretty clear that creativity is messy. Ideas need to be sloshing around or crashing in to one another to produce breakthroughs:
  • Having multiple hobbies allows your brain to subconsciously compare and contrast problems and solutions, forming new connections at the margins of each. 
  • Similarly, reading multiple books at the same time vs serially lets your brain juxtapose new ideas and develop new connections. 
  • Wandering minds are more creative. 
  • Studying a field "too much" doesn't limit creativity -- it does the opposite. More ideas banging about just produces even more ideas. 
  • The "accept everything" mantra of brainstorming doesn't work. Debate is far more effective. Let those ideas fight. 
  • ADD and bipolar disorder are both associated with greater creativity. When you're drunk or exhausted your brain is poised for breakthroughs. 
  • Even with teams, it's better to mix up experience levels, familiarity with one another and other factors to keep things rough around the edges.

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