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March 11, 2008

Blind Spot Creativity

On Creativity Central blog, there is an interesting post .  Here's an excerpt from that blog:

Like an earthquake, every eureka moment has a series of aftershocks.  One of the most fascinating of these after sights is discovering your blind spots.  Typically, you'll hear lines like "The answer was right in front of me and I couldn't see it."  "I was solving the wrong problem."  "I never challenged the conventional thinking."

Isn't fallibility great?

Years ago, Russell Ackoff, a teacher at the Wharton School wrote a great article called "Infallibility."  I am paraphrasing some of the highlights because it sheds some more light on our blind spots.  In an experiment conducted by Alex Bavelas at MIT, subjects were taken into a room where slides were projected.  The slides were produced by waving a flashlight in dark room over unexposed film.

The subjects sat at desks in front of two buttons.  They were told to press one of the buttons after each slide. Here's the twist.  If they pressed the "right" one they would be paid, if they pressed the wrong one, they would get nothing. 

There was nothing said about what parameters determined the "right" choice. After a few slides, most subjects began to formulate theories to explain the rewards they received and soon they were quite sure that their theory was correct.

When the experiment was completed the subjects were asked to reveal their theories.  Then Bavelas told them that they were rewarded at random. There was absolutely no relationship between the buttons pushed and the rewards.   Most of the subjects were surprised, but insisted that they theories were correct.  They would not abandon their theories.

The blog post continues with more details on the blind spot creativity, and additional footnotes.  Continue reading this content at  Blind Spot Creativity.

Posted by ACASA on March 11, 2008 at 09:19 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (1)