The Anti-Creativity Bias
Naturally, there are plenty of logistical and business-related decisions which lead to ideas being buried (think budgeting issues, changes in the market, and so on). But one of the more striking reasons as to why the ideas graveyard is so heavily populated lies in the fact that departure from the norm makes people feel uncomfortable. On the whole, people prefer tried-and-tested choices over more daring options, which results in a large percentage of ambitious ideas never seeing the light of day. This concept forms the basis of the theory that humans possess an anti-creativity bias.
It is suggested that people are subconsciously predisposed to reject creative ideas out of a fear of uncertainty, which prevents people from assessing creativity objectively and, in more extreme cases, leads some people to fail to recognise a creative idea altogether. Even those who believe that they are open-minded and embrace creativity can apparently suffer from the bias.
A study carried out by the Cornell University ILR School found that:
- People opt for tried-and-tested, practical ideas over original, creative ones
- Even when presented with evidence backing up the more creative option, people are not motivated to accept it
- Practical terms such as ‘functional’, ‘constructive’ and ‘useful’ are preferred to more creative terms like ‘novel’, ‘inventive’ and ‘original’