We are all creative.   We have different preferences for how we’d like to create.

So, it’s no surprise how much heat is being generated over an opinion piece by Susan Cain in the NY Times called The Rise of the New Groupthink.

Groupthink“.  Would we call that a positive label?  The term was coined in 1972 by Irving Janis in his analysis of US military fiascoes–clearly, NOT a good thing.  For years it’s been employed to describe the worst of group dynamics.  Ms. Cain has recently written a book called Quiet: the Power of Introverts.

She makes some valuable points.  Most brainstorming is heinous.  Nobody likes pointless meetings with people posturing for the benefit of superiors.  I recognize and crave the power of solitude in my creative process.  But does she mean that I, a moderate Extravert, can’t ‘do quiet’?  Or worse, that I’ll never be as creative?

Unfortunately, she plays it fast and loose with her research.  For an elegant response to her inaccuracies I refer you to the excellent Keith Sawyer.  He corrects her mistakes and provides a reasonable point-of-view.

I wish Ms. Cain had subtitled her book the Power of Introversion instead of dividing us into right and wrong sub-groups.

The creative process is just too complex to assign superior powers to a specific group.  All of us, regardless of style, can make a contribution and we need to take responsibility for ensuring we occasionally have an environment that fosters our preferred process.