On creativity, solitude, and team work.

ImageRemember Stephen Wozniak? In his memoir, he offers his advice to kids who aspire to great creativity:

Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me – they’re shy and they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone where they can control an invention’s design without a lot of other people designing it for marketing or some other committee. I don’t think anything revolutionary has been invented by committee. If you’re the rare engineer who’s an inventor and also an artist, I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone. You’re going to be best able to design revolutionary products and features if you are working on your own. Not on a committee. Not on a team.

What do you think? Is agility of development and team work important at the cost of creativity? What kind of projects do you think can be run in teams, keeping the teams engaged too?

As a side note, here is an interesting bit of new research on correlation, if any, between the degree of extroversion of a leader, and her team’s performance:

Extroverted leaders enhance the group performance when team members are passive (i.e. conforming, ready to follow the explicit lead by authority). On the other hand, introverted leaders are more effective with teams whose members are proactive, and take initiative (self managed, thinkers?). (Reference: Adam Grant’s work, Wharton).

Interesting, hmm? Think the efficient and extroverted organizational chains will be challenged enough before creative teams start to get ambiverted or introverted leaders? How about Agile teams – where there are no explicit leaders? 🙂


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