Traffic Light designed by Arthur Shlain from the Noun Project

Traffic Light designed by Arthur Shlain from the Noun Project

Turns out we’re naturally biased against creative ideas. Slate explains:

Online job boards burst with ads recruiting “idea people” and “out of the box” thinkers. We are taught that our own creativity will be celebrated as well, and that if we have good ideas, we will succeed. It’s all a lie. This is the thing about creativity that is rarely acknowledged: Most people don’t actually like it. Studies confirm what many creative people have suspected all along: People are biased against creative thinking, despite all of their insistence otherwise. 

“We think of creative people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but the thing we celebrate is the after-effect,” says Barry Staw, a researcher at the University of California–Berkeley business school who specializes in creativity.

Staw says most people are risk-averse. He refers to them as satisfiers. “As much as we celebrate independence in Western cultures, there is an awful lot of pressure to conform,” he says. Satisfiers avoid stirring things up, even if it means forsaking the truth or rejecting a good idea.

As one of the commenters on the Slate piece points out, part of having a creative idea is proving its merits to those around you. Read the rest at Slate.

Previously on 99u: Why Great Ideas Get Rejected

  • Marc Reece

    Interesting post. This happens all to often at “creative type companies” We were recently hired to take over all the social media activities for a chain of stores in New England. Within two weeks engagement was up, conversions were up and new likes, shares and comments were up. A week before Christmas we were fired. The company was upset did not understand why every post did not have a link to their online store, After all social media is about sales right? It amazes me that some of the most non creative people run marketing departments. I once had to correct a marketing director when he started talking about marketing to demographics after he was finished I said, “What do you think would happen if we started marketing to people instead? I guess thats why they make the big bucks. Great site! I just finished reading MANAGE YOUR DAY TO DAY!!! Amazing!

  • Bojan Živković

    I am posting online blog posts and various creations. Usually I want to sell services or product. When I post something creative there are likes and favs without any sales or contact. On opposite when I post something simple but catchy or nice looking there isn’t many likes or favs but I am getting what I want: sales and contacts.

  • Ed Melnitsky

    People like ideas that help them solve their problems, or help them meet their goals.

    “Creative” or “new” ideas are easy.

    Ideas that truly help solve problems or meet goals are harder.

    And convincing people that your ideas will solve their problems or meet their goals is even harder. It requires preparation, patience and persistence.

  • Xersa

    The problem is not in the creation of ideas but of the insecurity of the receiver. A gentle approach is necessary. Belief in oneself and ones abilities would give one better reception of another persons ideas.

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