This image is from the cover of “The Myths of Creativity” by David Burkus, who addresses many of the myths about creativity and creative people – myths which often get in the way of personal creative work, and business innovation.
In an interview for Amazon.com, Burkus comments that “decades of psychological insight into creativity have given us a means to study where it comes from and how to enhance it for greater innovation.”
He adds, “The stories and heuristics we used to explain creativity and innovation aren’t necessary and, in many cases, are contradictory to the empirical evidence.
“By beginning to study that evidence, managers will develop a better understanding of how great ideas develop and how to develop organizations that can consistently produce great ideas.”
In this short audio clip psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson, host of The Science of Thriving conference (a couple of years ago) interviews Burkus, who talks about the “Eureka” myth of creative inspiration, and about how incubation works.
Video: The Myths of Creativity by David Burkus
The description of the video includes this:
“We tend to think of creativity in terms reminiscent of the ancient muses: divinely-inspired, unpredictable, and bestowed upon a lucky few. But when our jobs challenge us to be creative on demand, we must develop novel, useful ideas that will keep our organizations competitive.”
In his Amazon.com interview, Burkus notes he closes his book “with a discussion of the ‘Mousetrap Myth,’ the belief that once a good idea is generated, getting it implemented is easy. This comes from the maxim ‘If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.’
“It turns out that this saying is quite backwards. In most cases, when a great idea or innovation is presented to the world it is typically rejected at first. The digital camera, personal computers, and even talking pictures were all at first dismissed as nonsense.
“In most cases, if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat you down and ignore your idea. The reason for this is most likely a psychological bias we all share against creative ideas. We say we want more creativity, but when we are presented with new ideas, we have a hard time recognizing their utility. This is something I see in almost all organizations.”
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Praise for the book:
“Creative potential is all too often held captive by misconceptions. Burkus tackles the myths head on and digs into the true underpinnings of creative insight. It turns out that great ideas are within your grasp as soon as you take the reins. Read this book to free yourself of the myths and assumptions that burden your true creative potential.”
—Scott Belsky, author of Making Ideas Happen and cofounder of Behance
“Through rigorous research and engaging stories, Burkus debunks the myths of creativity and illuminates a creative process that makes ingenuity accessible to all. If you seek a more innovative company, The Myths of Creativity is a brilliant find.”
—Liz Wiseman, author of Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work
The Science of Thriving: At Work and In Life was an online conference featuring more than 20 leading scientists and authors including Carol Dweck, Dan Ariely, Adam Grant, Daniel Pink, Sian Beilock, Art Markman, Maria Konnikova, Scott Barry Kaufman and more. Hear some audio clips in post: Thriving In Work and Life: An Online Conference.
Also see my related articles:
Myths of Creativity and Creators – How They Hold Us Back – There are many ongoing myths and ideas about being creative: You need to wait for a flash of inspiration; You need to be a “genius”; Artists are crazy, or at least flaky; You need to be in pain to create, and many more.