A study at the University of Pennsylvania finds that people are biased against creative ideas. [physorg.com] To quote directly from the article, the study's findings include
- Creative ideas are by definition novel, and novelty can trigger feelings of uncertainty that make most people uncomfortable.
- People dismiss creative ideas in favor of ideas that are purely practical -- tried and true.
- Objective evidence shoring up the validity of a creative proposal does not motivate people to accept it.
- Anti-creativity bias is so subtle that people are unaware of it, which can interfere with their ability to recognize a creative idea.
While people explicitly claimed to want creative ideas, the study showed they actually had a bias against them. For example, a business person who says things like "we really need to think outside the box here, people, we need to move the needle with something brilliant and visionary," while that same person recoils from Freeway Pots, fails to grasp the beauty of a freeway Christmas tree decorated year after year, and couldn't begin to understand why someone would ride a bike to work when they could drive a car instead. Yes, that's correct, I'm claiming that commuting by bicycle is a creative and novel act of the imagination. Not only that, but it also fuels the imagination, making you even more creative.
This study reminded me of a few things that will come in handy: just because an idea makes me uncomfortable, that doesn't make it incorrect, the tried and true is not necessarily the best idea, supporting data sometimes needs a BANG UP presentation to get the point across, and people usually have no idea whatsoever why they really don't like an idea, they just know that they don't, and make up rationalizations to protect their initial reaction. On the other hand: if you tell them your idea, if you show them your art, and you see them squirm, well you might just be on the right path no matter what the reaction. Stick with it, and see if you can't unmask their bias. Because really, what's more fun than that?