Are Groups Conducive To Creative Thinking

Listed below are the responses collected from the question "Are groups conducive to creative thinking?"

  • Groups can help spur or supress creativity depending on the individual members of the group.
  • Groups are conducive to creativity because interaction sparks new ideas.
  • Groups are much more conducive to creative thinking because combining old ideas in new ways often relies ondifferent people sharing ideas with others who may not have been introduced to that idea before.
  • Yes because you can feed off eachother and be inspired by others in the group to think about things you never would have before.
  • Yes, if the members of the group are open to ideas that are outside of the box.
  • Groups are very conducive to creative thinking as a means for feedback, as long as a sense of individuality is maintained within the group.
  • No, creativity is influenced by more personal qualities rather than group dynamics.

For the most part the subjects we pooled agreed that groups are conducive to creativity. The concepts of group creativity can be explained by the process of group flow. Flow is defined as the time when people are most creative. Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi at The University of Chicago
stuided individual flow as well as flow being commonplace in conversation. (Sawyer 42-43) Jazz musicians, improve actors as well as business groups all utilize flow to help reach an end goal. According to Sawyer's Group Genius(44-55) there are 10 steps to achieving good group flow.
1) Groups Goal-
The group must have an end goal in mind to provide some sort of focus for the group. This can hinder creativity, but is needed for direction.
2)Close Listening
It is important to listen to the other people in the group without having one's own agenda. It is important to be flexable and play off the ideas of others.
3) Complete Concentration
This one may seem obvious, but flow is increased when people are focused on the task at hand as opposed to say, deadlines or rewards.
4) Being in Control
Basically people whom are granted some sort of autonomy are more creative. According to Sawyer this may provide a paradox. People need to feel autonomous to flow, but must also be flexable enough to be part of the group.
5) Blending Egos
People must put aside their egos and work with the people around them to help build ideas from one another. It is important that people don't put their own ambitions above the project.
6)Equal Participation
The group benefits from everyon's involvement, provided that the group is pretty much at the same skill or competency level.
7) Familiarity
People tend to work better when they are better acquainted with one another. They tend to learn other group member's ways and how to talk to them. Familiarity helps people communicate effectivley.
8) Communication
Group flow requires constant communication from every member of the group. Spontaniaty is important for communication to spark flow.
9) Moving it Forward
The concept important in this step is that innovators should just kind of go with it. Ideas will happen and it is important not to try to correct ideas instead build off of them.
10)The Potential for Failure
Mistakes will happen. It is very important to accept that mistakes will happen. For groups it is important to learn from a mistake, and move on without dwelling.

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