Creativity is a spark. It can be excruciating when we're rubbing two rocks together and getting nothing. And it can be intensely satisfying when the flame catches and a new idea sweeps around the world.
Children can't help but create: they need to put their mind on the page, they want to paint, to sculpt, to write short stories.
[It's] troubling because it reminds us how difficult it is to prove anything. We like to pretend that our experiments define the truth for us. But that's often not the case. Just because an idea is true doesn't mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn't mean it's true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.
The only way to maximize group creativityâ€”to make the whole more than the sum of its partsâ€”is to encourage a candid discussion of mistakes. In part, this is because the acceptance of error reduces cost. When you believe your flaws will be quickly corrected by the group, you're less worried about perfecting your contribution, which leads to a more candid conversation. We can only get it right when we talk about what we got wrong.