How to generate and recognize original ideas

 

In Originals, Adam Grant explains how non-conformists rule the world. For example, here are his suggestions for generating and recognizing original ideas:

1. Question the default: “Instead of taking the status quo for granted, ask why it exists in the first place.”

2. Triple the number of ideas you generate: “Just as great baseball players only average a hit for every three at bats, every innovator swings and misses.”

3. Immerse yourself in a new domain: “Originality increases when you increase your frame of reference. One approach is to learn a new craft, like the Nobel Prize-winning scientists who expanding their creative repertoires by taking up painting, piano, dance, or poetry.”

4. Procrastinate strategically: “When you’re generating new ideas, deliberately stop when your progress is incomplete [because] you are more likely to to engage in divergent thinking and give ideas time to incubate.”

5. Seek more feedback from peers if you’re not an expert in the domain.” It’s hard to judge your own ideas, because you tend to be too enthusiastic and you can’t trust your gut if you’re not an expert in the domain.”

All this is explained in greater detail in Pages 245-246 and the five are recurring themes — explicit or implicit —  throughout Grant’s lively narrative.

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Adam Grant is Wharton’s top-rated teacher. He has been recognized as one of HR’s most influential international thinkers, BusinessWeek‘s favorite professors, the world’s 40 best business professors under 40, and Malcolm Gladwell’s favorite social science writers. Grant was tenured at Wharton while still in his twenties and has been honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award for every class he has taught. His first book, Give and Take, was a New York Times bestseller translated into twenty-seven languages and named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal–as well as one of Oprah’s riveting reads, Fortune‘s must-read business books, Harvard Business Review‘s ideas that shaped management, and the Washington Post‘s books every leader should read. His speaking and consulting clients include Google, the NFL, Merck, Goldman Sachs, Disney Pixar, the United Nations, and the U.S. Army and Navy. He serves as a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times and was profiled in a cover story by its magazine. Grant earned his Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and his B.A. from Harvard. He is a former junior Olympic springboard diver and magician.

Originals was published by Viking/Penguin Random House (2016).

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