Well-Being//

Study: For Peak Creativity, Brainstorm Ideas and Then Forget about Them

This method was found to be more effective than rewarding employees using pay incentives based on the number of ideas generated.

pogonici/Shutterstock
pogonici/Shutterstock

By Sheila McClear

There’s a way to get your employees to be super-creative, researchers have found. Brainstorm a plethora of ideas – even the bad ones – then retreat, leaving the ideas alone for an “incubation period” before returning to them later.

In the tests the researchers ran on their subjects, this method was found to be more effective than rewarding employees using pay incentives based on the number of ideas generated, or the most creative ideas generated, or a fixed wage to generate ideas. The people who were rewarded for churning out ideas, good or bad, were the most creative every time.

Researchers from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and the Gies College of Business at the university of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign published their findings in the March 2019 issue of Accounting Review.

“Creativity is not instantaneous, but if incentives promote enough ideas as seeds for thought, creativity eventually emerges,” said Steven Kachelmeier, co-author of the study, in a release.

Incubation time

The incubation period is key, Kachelmeier said of the tests the researchers conducted. Creativity does not respond to “raw effort,” as he wrote in the study. “Priming the pump” is important. In the study, subjects were taken on a 20-minute pleasant walk around campus before returning to their tasks.

“You need to rest, take a break and detach yourself – even is that detachment is just 20 minutes. The recipe for creativity is try – and get frustrated because it’s not going to happen. Relax, sit back, and then it happens.”

Originally published on Ladders.

Sign up to receive daily news, inspiration, and advice on how to master work and life from Ladders.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Stanislav Salamanov/ Getty Images
Wisdom//

How to Unlock Your Full Creative Potential at Work

by Rebecca Muller
Work Smarter//

Slacking Off Makes You More Creative. Here’s Why

by Patricia Thompson, PhD
Community//

Talking Ideation & Creativity with the Author of The Creative Curve, Allen Gannett

by Haley Hoffman Smith

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.