Brain research finds that you shouldn't try so hard to be creativeOct 27, 2015
In a new study linking creative problem-solving to heightened activity in the cerebellum, Researchers at Stanford University studied participants' brains while they attempted to draw pictorial representations of words (a la a game of Pictionary).They found that when subjects "shift the brain's higher-level, executive-control centers into higher gear" - activating the left pre-frontal cortex - their drawings were less creative.
"We found that activation of the parts of the brain that enable you to plan, organize and manage your activities is negatively associated with creative task performance," said the study's senior author Allan Reiss.When we teach improv, we stress that the point is not to try to be funny.The best, most creative scenes evolve organically through listening and responding honestly to your scene partner, not from trying really hard to be creative all on your own. "Getting out of your head" is a common phrase employed in improv, meaning "stop thinking so hard about what you're going to do, and instead be present in what you're doing." This is essential for group communication and collaboration.
"Creativity is an incredibly valued human attribute in every single human endeavor, be it work or play," he continued. "In art, science and business, creativity is the engine that drives progress. As a practicing psychiatrist, I even see its importance to interpersonal relationships. People who can think creatively and flexibly frequently have the best outcomes."
"As our study also shows, sometimes a deliberate attempt to be creative may not be the best way to optimize your creativity. While greater effort to produce creative outcomes involves more activity of executive-control regions, you actually may have to reduce activity in those regions in order to achieve creative outcomes."The study's lead author, Manish Saggar, put it more bluntly: "The more you think about it, the more you mess it up." So in the words of UCB's motto: Don't think!
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Amy Poehler one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in BusinessOct 27, 2015
UCB founder Amy Poehler is an actress, comedian, producer, and a multimedia entrepreneur whose background in improv and willingness to "make herself uncomfortable" by taking risks has earned her a place in Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business, alongside other creative luminaries and CEOs of the world's most influential companies.
While many creative people in Hollywood are floundering in the media sea change, Poehler is surfing-which is what she's been doing her entire career, starting with her earliest days as a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade, the comedy troupe she helped form in Chicago in the 1990s. "It all goes back to improv," she says. "It's all about flexibility, about not knowing what's going to happen next. You have to listen and stay in the moment. You have to play with people who will support you. You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable." And, of course, you have to be willing to risk it all.And what about when those risks fail? "I've failed a million times," Amy says in Fast Company. "The question you have to ask yourself is: How do you want to fail? Do you want to fail in a way that feels like it respects your tastes and value system?"
Read the full article here.
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What's the Point of Creativity?Oct 27, 2015
We talk a lot about creativity. What is it, exactly? How do we foster it? Who does it best? In last week's Harvard Business Review, social entrepreneur Dan Polleta shifts the conversation by asking, "Why Creativity?" His answer:
I believe that the best creativity comes from a much deeper place than the desire to win. It comes from a desire to contribute to the lives of others, either by introducing something new that improves the quality of their lives or by showing people that something thought to be impossible is in fact possible. When you change people's perceptions about what can be accomplished or achieved, you contribute to their humanity in the richest possible way.Polleta argues that most contemporary writing about innovation is missing the point, which is to make life better. Is there a place for unbridled creativity, that is - innovation without pragmatism?
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