Category Archives: Innovation

Does the Internet Inspire Or Stifle Creativity?

Here’s an interesting question, does the internet threaten creativity or nurture it?,

It depends on how you look at it. When we think about the internet, we think of many things: websites, blogs, social networks, social media, etc..

All these components of the internet let us express ourselves in one way or another, connect with people we know, meet strangers, learn from others and create with others. But, while all this is great, the other side of what makes us human also makes it onto the internet.

Really, the internet both inspires and stifles creativity, here’s how…

How the Internet threatens creativity

Creativity, by it’s nature, is about bravery. So, to think creatively is to challenge the status-quo. Great!

One of the common benefits of having access to so much information and people is that we can find answers rather quickly. But this benefit has immediate consequences when we stop paying attention to human nature, for people will congregate around the same ideas on social networks which eventually leads to group-think.

What does that mean?

A few years ago I wrote a piece on how social media is group-think on steroids because it puts critical thinking to sleep. Critical thinking and creativity go hand in hand, but the megaphone that is social media turns people into lambs drinking the same kool-aid; making critical thinking irrelevant.

Where all think alike nobody thinks very much, and thus the status-quo stops being challenged.

See, the internet doesn’t make us more stupid because, in general terms, we’re stupid and shallow to begin with. But it may help some of us to become dumber and more shallow faster and more efficiently.

Simply put, the internet (if we let it) doesn’t eliminate human bias; it amplifies it.

How the Internet nurtures creativity

Not all is gray, for many great things happen because of the internet. I, like others, have used the internet to solve problems by collaborating with people from around the world. These connections came about because of serendipitous exchanges on Twitter and other mediums; the type that fuels innovation.

The advantage of the internet is open communication, so the simple act of sharing a thought on Twitter can become a conversation. Same goes with blogging, it brings like minds together. This is a good example of how the internet nurtures creativity. Beyond my immediate family, I’ve met all the most valuable people that I know through the internet.

My take is that just like innovative businesses understand that group-think is an enemy of innovation and thus create mechanisms to counter it, if we understand how this dynamic applies on the internet, we can counter it.

It’s important that we do because the future of work will be much more digital and collaborative than it is today; I guarantee it.

Bottom line: The Internet has the power to both bring out the best and worst in us. I foresee we’ll be debating whether or not technology make us stupid well into the future, but let’s put it to rest right now: Technology doesn’t make us stupid, it makes us smarter.

Serendipitous exchanges fuel innovation

twitter innovation networkWell, well, well…someone finally mapped out on Twitter what we intuitively know about how innovations happens:

The more diverse a person’s social network, the more likely that person is to be innovative. A diverse network provides exposure to people from different fields who behave and think differently. Good ideas emerge when the new information received is combined with what a person already knows.

It’s really simple, interactions, not individuals, drive breakthroughs.

Live life at the intersection of interesting if you want to push possibilities everyday

where do new ideas come from?There a many traits that separate innovators from non-innovators, one of them is the ability to perceive differently. Put simply, perception separates the innovator from the imitator. Thus, innovations come from non-conventional views. So, if we’re to develop our own capacity for innovation, as well as create a culture that produces and delivers consistent game-changing ideas, we need to develop the ability to perceive differently.

How?

It’s the little things that kill

Our society tends to focus on the big ideas. We love them, me included. But since big ideas have no precedent, no path to follow, the challenge is they require uncommon action; little details that need to be figured out beforehand.

So, everyone likes talking about big ideas. But a very small number of people are actually motivated to figure out the little things that need to be right for that big idea to be delivered.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable

When’s the last time you made yourself purposely uncomfortable?

It’s something to think about. When our natural instinct is to constantly seek out comfort…

We are the main obstacle to progress because we continually fail to question everything, including our ideas; it’s really that simple. There is a constant strong force at play, the status-quo bias, that impedes us from getting out of our own way and instead opting to stick with the tried and true.

Design your organization so that it always develops new capabilities

What is the main obstacle that stands in the way of sustainable long-term success for any business? I’d argue that it’s culture. A strong culture will recover from mistakes and figure out a way forward; while a weak one will never aim to evolve beyond what it already knows.

With that said, let’s get this out of the way: you must build culture from the beginning.