Can you trust what you read in business magazines?

Everyone in business believes that creativity is important to a business’s long-term success. So it’s not surprising that top business magazines publish lots of articles about how to foster creativity and innovation. Are those articles grounded in the latest scientific research on creativity? That’s what a team of creativity researchers decided to find out. They searched every article between 2015 and 2019 in three best-selling business magazines–Fast Company; Inc.; and Entrepreneur–and they identified 201 articles about creativity. Across all of the articles, they found 17 major claims about creativity. Were those claims supported by creativity research?

Good news! The 17 claims were consistent with creativity research. One of the most important claims is that “Collaboration within an organization is beneficial for creativity and innovation.” My own research supports this claim and that’s the message of my 2017 book Group Genius. This was the most prevalent of all 17 claims: it appeared in over 50 percent of the articles.

There’s one way the business magazines could do better: They leave out many of the most important research findings. For example, my research shows how creativity emerges from a wandering iterative process. Based on these findings, we can learn a lot about how to enhance the creative process. We know a lot about the forms of collaboration and the organizational structures that best foster the creative process. But across four years of magazine issues, no articles describe the creative process or how to enhance it. My research shows that creativity is a process that emerges from a special kind of work. Creativity emerges from particular habits of mind and daily practices. The path to greater creativity is improvisational and unpredictable, and yet–paradoxically–you can also learn to channel it so that it leads you consistently to successful creativity.

A magazine will give you a soundbite version of creativity, but if you want the full story, read this blog! My mission is to bring you surprising news about creativity that’s grounded in the latest scientific research.

5 thoughts on “Can you trust what you read in business magazines?

  1. Thanks Keith for addressing this issue in an appropriate manner.  I’ve read some interesting challenging articles back to publishers. 17 claims out of 201 articles tells a lot.  Been a long time since we had coffee on UNC campus.   Merry Christmas and Happy New yearAnthony (Tony) Pagliaroli, MScBright LIghts Innovations, LLC Get Outlook for iOS

     From: The Creativity Guru <comment-reply@wordpress.com>Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 10:01 AMTo: tony@brightlightsinnovations.comSubject: [New post] Can you trust what you read in business magazines? 

    keithsawyer posted: ”

    Everyone in business believes that creativity is important to a business’s long-term success. So it’s not surprising that top business magazines publish lots of articles about how to foster creativity and innovation. Are those articles grounded in th”

  2. Wonderful insights – thanks for the post!.. Also, congratulations on such thought-leading research; both in the ‘Group Genious’ and elsewhere. It seems that the qualities of creativity and collaboration are indeed increasingly recognized as critical; and yet, we are not often certain as how to connect them as realities in practical contexts. In the age of algorithms – where everything repeatable will likely be computed – collaboration and creativity are poised to become ever more important; as innovation differentiators, competitive advantage, and perhaps a way out of our key global challenges.

  3. So watch out for those jazz musicians. It seems that the process of jazz improvisation by individuals in small groups or jazz orchestras (Duke Ellington, Maria Shneider etc.) is a major muse of this book. Might the jazz musician improvisational process be the key to creativity in any context?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s