Recently, I was catching up on the Emmy award-winning favorite comedy Modern Family. Maybe you’ve heard of it? In the episode (‘She Crazy’ Season 7, Episode 4), eyes rolled when Claire Dunphy, a “suit” at a closet company, wanted to pitch ideas at a creative design team meeting. This hit home as I saw myself in the character while thinking, “Market researchers aren’t known for their creative thinking either.”
But at KL Communications, we believe that everyone can be creative. It doesn’t matter your title, or skillset, or experience. And the same goes for our “Co-creation Community members”. We put it right in their name!
When tasking consumers with creative problem solving, such as in one of our CrowdWeaving® sessions, there can be some debate whether or not to screen for creativity. We opt not to screen for creativity. Why not, you (presumably) ask? If you did, you aren’t alone.
During the KL Communications & Delta Air Lines GreenBook webinar on October 15th, Kevin Lonnie, President of KLC, addressed this question in response to an attendee asking, “Did you do any creative thinking screening to determine whether participants are ideators or developers?”
First, Kevin explained that while a group of participants may not ideate initially, they “…offer comments to the original ideators in ways that can help them make their ideas even better.”
Second, he went on to add that, “…there is research done out of the University of Michigan and what that research says is that unfortunately if you start to screen for creative thinking you start a bias of groupthink.” (1) He provided support that, “They have done side-by-side examples of ideation challenges between members of Mensa and regular folks. These examples showed regular folks outperformed Mensa members because often the seeds of a great idea come out of left field. So, why would we want to screen that out?”
The above stems from the Diversity Prediction Theorem where Scott E. Page proves that, “The diverse group almost always outperforms the group of the best by a substantial margin.” (2) Page also states that, “Scientists believe at their core that different representations, different perspectives are incredibly useful for solving problems.” (3)
We don’t want to rate our Co-creation community members and subsequently turn someone away who may be the one to come up with that next great idea. Ultimately, we want to collaborate with diverse participants and discover unmet needs that spark inspiration. We believe that anyone can help uncover this potential.
Thanks, Kevin, for having confidence that I (and Claire Dunphy) can be creative! And thank you, Scott, for proving it. We should never put a limit on who can add value to the objective to solve business problems, enhance customer experiences, and even create new products. We can all work together to make good ideas great. Who knows, maybe the world is missing out on the most perfect closet design because Claire was “screened out.” Let’s not allow that to happen to us. Instead, let’s remember that everyone can be creative.
Jamie Lang, Senior Project Manager
1) Scott E. Page, a professor of complex systems, political science and economics at the University of Michigan, is a fresh voice. His recently published book, “The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies” (Princeton University Press), uses mathematical modeling and case studies to show how variety in staffing produces organizational strength. (2008) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/08/science/08conv.html
2) Lu Hong and Scott E. Page, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2002)
3) Scott E. Page, “Leveraging Diversity,” Darden School of Business (2010)