Creativity takes time, even in online co-creation contests

screenshots-videoVery recently, the Hungarian ad agency Café Creative released a video that yielded a simple yet true message: creativity takes time! To prove this, they asked young kids to draw a clock (1) in 10 seconds, and (2) in 10 minutes. Unsurprisingly, the second wave of drawings was much more original than the first one: the kids reinvented the clock as animals, flowers, kites…). While this little experiment shows obvious results, the fact that creativity takes time has also been proved in scientific litterature… and even at eYeka where we came up with the same finding! Check it out here…

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration! (Thomas Edison)

Thomas Edison suggests that it takes a lot of hard work to be a genius… well it seems that it is exactly the same thing when it comes to creativity. As we pointed out in a previous blog post about creativity, Theresa Amabile is a worldwide leading researcher in creativity and management. In 2002, she published an article about the impact of time pressure on creativity. One of the findings is that « very high levels of time pressure should be avoided if you want to foster creativity on a consistent basis« . She points out that « very low time pressure might lull people into inaction« , but also ironically notes that « [she doesn’t] think there’s much danger of too little time pressure in most organizations« .

Do you see what’s written there? Take your time…

There are more studies that show that creativity takes time. In 2004, the Journal of Consumer Research released an article that showed that « individuals responded more creatively when facing a time constraint, as compared with having ample time« . A year later, another study published in the same prestigious Journal found out that « while […] creative processes require more time to complete […] they consistently predicted the judged novelty of the outcome« . Hence, there seems to be some solid evidence that supports Creative Café’s somehow anecdotal video. Interestingly, we made the same observations when we took a look at the creative contests on eYeka:

screenshot

Based on our perception of the outcome of creative contests that we held in the last years, we isolated a basket of « successful » and another basket of « less successful » contests. We defined success according to a number of criteria including the quality and the quantity of entries we received. We observed that our most successful projects had an average duration of 38 days (and a median of 43 days) while less successful contests where on the platform for 35 days in average (and a median of 32 days). The insight that we derive from that is that time-pressure might not be good for creative expression, and that people need time to come up with great ideas. What do you think? Do you have similar findings to share?

About Yannig

Yannig was Marketing Manager at eYeka, responsible for PR, communication and research. Interested in marketing, innovation and design-related topics, he also loves to free his head by cycling, running, reading or drawing. Yannig, who holds an MSc from ESSCA School of Management and a PhD from University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, tweets under @YannigRoth and blogs at www.yannigroth.com
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One Response to Creativity takes time, even in online co-creation contests

  1. Pingback: Deadlines and Creativity | Jeansonne

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