Home » World News » A brain science expert shares his 30-second exercise to jumpstart your creative thinking at work
A brain science expert shares his 30-second exercise to jumpstart your creative thinking at work
Moran Cerf, 42, is a professor of neuroscience and business at Kellogg School of Management and Northwestern University and the Alfred P. Sloan professor at the American Film Institute.
Every week, he receives questions about the brain, psychology, business, and behavior via email from people who attend his talks; below are his answers to two recent questions.
In today's column, he shares neuroscience tips for unlocking your creativity, including using "constraint generation" when you feel stuck in a creative rut.
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Q: I work in a creative agency where we are frequently asked to come up with ideas during brainstorming meetings. Is there any tip or tools from neuroscience research that can be helpful in being creative?
Creativity is a very 'loaded' word. We tend to judge things as creative differently based on context. For example, if you trained all your life on thinking one way (say, writing in Hebrew from left to right) and everyone else in your team was trained differently (writing English right to left) you may seem creative if you suggest doing something that breaks the mold. No one will assume that for you the 'creative' idea was actually the straightforward one. This is why diversity is useful in creative teams. Aside from the equality component — which is important in itself, to make the world just and fair — diversity is good because it creates opportunities for diverse ideas that are intuitive for one person but totally counterintuitive for another person.
Once you are able to bring different minds into a creative team, there are a number of tricks that are helpful in being creative.
One idea that I find extremely useful, which I preach to my students frequently, is "constraints generation". Or, in one line, "if you want to be creative, generate constraints."
Here's what I mean. Let's try this example of a creative exercise:
In the next 30 seconds, try to come up with a game. Ready? Start. 30, 29, 28, …