Covering the Creativity Bias

A new study shows that while people and organizations love the concept of creative thinking as a way of improvement, they very rarely implement these creative ideas in fear of difficulty and even failure.

Cornell University recently published a study called “The Bias Against Creativity:Why People Desire but Reject Creative Ideas.” The researchers concluded that new, creative ideas can, “provoke enough discomfort to prompt the adoption of more “practical” (safer, proven, tested) alternatives.”

The researchers at Cornell University implemented two different tests in order to study why creativity is praised yet rarely used. The first test used both creative and practical ideas in association with both positive and negative words and connotations. The second tested for uncertainty and asked participants to rank ideas in order of creativity.

Conclusions showed that participants strongly supported  creative ideas but favored practical solutions by a factor of two to one.

The researchers conclude that “…if people have difficulty gaining acceptance for creative ideas especially when more practical and unoriginal options are readily available, the field of creativity may need to shift its current focus from identifying how to generate more creative ideas to identifying how to help innovative institutions recognize and accept creativity.”

Do you think that this study could be applied for people worldwide or just here in the US? Also, how would this study apply the advertising or journalism industry?

People’s fear of failure can be a paralyzing influence on their decision making. Is it better to take the risk and win big or to play it safe, using practical ideas and solutions?


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