Sparking creativity in teams: An executive’s guide

Senior managers can apply practical insights from neuroscience …

…. to make themselves – and their teams – more creative. The key is to focus on perception, which leading neuroscientists, such as Emory University’s Gregory Berns, find is intrinsically linked to creativity in the human brain. To perceive things differently, Berns maintains, we must bombard our brains with things it has never encountered. This kind of novelty is vital because the brain has evolved for efficiency and routinely takes perceptual shortcuts to save energy; perceiving information in the usual way requires little of it.

We’ll explore four practical ways for executives to apply this thinking to shake up ingrained perceptions and enhance creativity — both personally and with their direct reports and broader work teams. While we don’t claim to have invented the individual techniques, we have seen their collective power to help companies generate new ways of tackling perennial problems — a useful capability for any business on the prowl for potential game-changing growth opportunities.

  • Immerse yourself
  • Overcome orthodoxies
  • Use analogies
  • Create constraints


Source: Sparking creativity in teams: An executive’s guide | McKinsey Quarterly | April 2011