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Creativity in the Box

Dan and Chip Heath, authors of Made to Stick (a book that I just recently finished in which I will be posting more about!) recently published an interesting article entitled, "Get Back in the Box: How constraints can free your teams' thinking" in Fast Company (December 2007 / January 2008) p. 74.

The thesis of the article is we actually become more creative when we create constraints in which to be creative. So, an example would be trying to create a bank's lobby that is "hipper and more inviting to young professional customers" as a goal is far less effective than starting with some constraints such as "We want the space to be more lie a Starbucks and less like a post office."

The point of the article is that creativity is not sparked in a vacuum. Parameters and guidelines prompt creativity and brainstorming. As the authors suggest, that yes, "--it constrains freedom,....but it also dramatically improves the chances that your team will hit the target."

(HT: Eric Swanson)


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