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"The Creativity Killer: Group Discussions" in

Traditional meetings are often more about socializing decisions than making them. A case for rethinking how we generate ideas.

Perhaps this situation hasn't happened to you yet at work. But it probably will.

Your entire team has been corralled into a conference room and told by your boss to become more creative as a unit. To collaborate more efficiently. To generate breakthrough ideas that will transform your business, your industry, the world at large. To hone your group's collective creativity in ways that makes a team of three or four people more effective than dozens. No pressure—only your career is riding on it.

With the emerging dialogue in the popular press and blogosphere about fostering creativity in business, there is no lack of desire for collective creativity. Take this recent quote by Bruce Nussbaum about looking beyond fostering "design thinking" and instead encouraging "creative Intelligence":

I am defining Creative Intelligence as the ability to frame problems in new ways and to make original solutions. You can have a low or high ability to frame and solve problems, but these two capacities are key and they can be learned.... It is a sociological approach in which creativity emerges from group activity, not a psychological approach of development stages and individual genius.

Yes, group activity can provide the impetus for better framing of problems, which can lead to original solutions. But creativity is the "end result of many forms of intelligence coming together, and intelligence born out of collaboration and out of networks," to quote one of my co-workers, Robert Fabricant. When we collaborate with different kinds of thinkers, sometimes from different cultures and backgrounds, we individually struggle with ingrained behaviors that reduce our likelihood of manifesting creativity.

One of the joys of working in teams is the cadence and flow of dialogue between people, and seeing how ideas grow and change through discussion. We often become lost in these exchanges, and delightfully so.

They seem to be core to the notion of design and creativity, but they aren't.

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