Groupthink can be one of the larger barriers to effective idea generation within organisations. Indeed, conflict within groups is generally not encouraged at most organisations. Creating ‘individualist’ cultures is one of the best ways to overcome this problem.

This concept was examined by researchers in relation to small group idea generation work. Participants were divided in to two groups. One group was primed to think individualistically. This was done by writing down how they felt they were different to most people and why they thought it was advantageous to stand out from crowd. The second group was primed to think collectivistly. They had to write down why they felt they were like most other people, and why they felt it is advantageous to blend in.

They found that the individualist group produced significantly more ideas, and more creative ideas, supporting the notion that creating an individualist culture increases creativity.

So before you start to generate ideas within your team, spend some time considering your unique qualities and why it’s good to stand out from the crowd.

Become a better mind reader

If you want to know what a co-worker really thinks of your idea, pay attention to the upper part of their face. Fake emotions tend to be expressed in the lower part of the face (i.e. the mouth) while true emotions tend to be expressed mostly around the eyes. So the next time someone smiles encouragingly at an idea you have suggested, check if their eyes are smiling too in order to get to the bottom of how they really feel.

Stop hiding your emotions

As we always bang on about, exposure to a diverse range of information is a great way to increase creativity. Here is some randomness for you to digest this tri-night…

Do you tend to wear your heart on your sleeve, or are you an ‘emotional repressor’? If you fall into the latter group, chances are your memory is not working as effectively as possible. Research conducted at Stanford University found that when people actively suppress their emotions, their ability to create and store memories is significantly reduced. Instead, mental resources are occupied with self-monitoring.

So if you want to remember something, make sure you let your emotions out. Better out than in, as they say…