Any requirement that new stuff be reviewed by committee (e.g. a board of directors) will tend to destroy anything truly innovative.
Why? Because the creative people can see much further than the (much less involved) committee. They seem like crazy people talking about a world that doesn't (yet) exist.
Elon Musk is doing so well because he has such an iron grip over his companies. If he ever becomes subject to real oversight he'll fail as hard as Jobs did under Scully.
"Ignoring the wisdom of crowds"
Good creative collaboration is never democratic or equal (counterexamples?). Great projects must have a lead architect. The innovation must fit inside one head that balances all aspects and makes the decisions. 'The lone contemplation' works in all levels if you have good hierarchy. You don't need to fit your ideas to everyone else's and compromise.
Creative collaboration and innovation has always existed and flourished in hierarchical settings. Architectural firms, advertisement agencies, industrial design firms, and scientific and technical R&D labs all have group of creative people working together in groups.
In my personal experience it's easier to convey idea first to the lead, then you both explain it to the whole group for the feedback. Eventually the lead decides what happens. Pitching to the group usually waters down the idea (brainstorming is different).
Funny, I think it's precisely the opposite. I don't think most creative people can thrive under a strict hierarchy (some famous creative people had even trouble to keep a normal job).
It's true that groups of creative people sometimes cooperate, but almost always like equals. One of the famous counterexamples I can give you is the Monty Python collaboration, which was strictly democratic. There are also plenty examples of creative collaborations between two people.
In open source software, where there is a hierarchy, it is rather informal. Linus is not a single "lead architect" of Linux; would he enforce a bad decision that most developers would disagree with, he would be forked away. He has no choice than to respect meritocratic wishes of other developers, if he wants to stay "in charge".
There were open source projects that tried a more heavy handed way of architectural management, and they failed - such as GCC or XFree86.
>He has no choice than to respect meritocratic wishes of other developers
On the contrary. Linus can enforce his vision against majority of other senior developers because here is inherent costs friction in forking Linux. It would require large number of misguided decisions for any serious fork to emerge.
I challenge you to find an example where he did that.
> It would require large number of misguided decisions for any serious fork to emerge.
In the case of GCC, this wasn't true at all. All it took was being too conservative, and not including contributions fast enough.
A lot of people have been moving to clang, but I'm quite sure GCC is still strong. What do you mean by failed?
A link backing this claim would be nice too, as I couldn't find any (although I just probably didn't search it right).
"As GCC was licensed under the GPL, programmers wanting to work in other directions—particularly those writing interfaces for languages other than C—were free to develop their own fork of the compiler, provided they meet the GPL's terms, including its requirements to distribute source code. Multiple forks proved inefficient and unwieldy, however, and the difficulty in getting work accepted by the official GCC project was greatly frustrating for many. The FSF kept such close control on what was added to the official version of GCC 2.x that GCC was used as one example of the "cathedral" development model in Eric S. Raymond's essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
In 1997, a group of developers formed Experimental/Enhanced GNU Compiler System (EGCS) to merge several experimental forks into a single project. The basis of the merger was a GCC development snapshot taken between the 2.7 and 2.81 releases. Projects merged included g77 (Fortran), PGCC (P5 Pentium-optimized GCC), many C++ improvements, and many new architectures and operating system variants. EGCS development proved considerably more vigorous than GCC development, so much so that the FSF officially halted development on their GCC 2.x compiler, blessed EGCS as the official version of GCC and appointed the EGCS project as the GCC maintainers in April 1999. With the release of GCC 2.95 in July 1999 the two projects were once again united."
A similar thing happened couple years later in XFree86 community: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XFree86
There's also plenty of cases of actual employees being innovative. The work produced by employees of SRI (e.g. Douglas Engelbart's team) and of Bell Labs eclipses Tesla and SpaceX in terms of innovation.
The question was not that there can always be only one protean creator in an organization. The point was that a crowd adds no value to the divergent thought process of innovation. Only a productizes output can be sanely evaluated by a large group. At this point the question is not 'could this work' but rather, does it. The former is subject to mere opinions, whereas the latter is more or less a matter of objective measurement (if done honestly).
People are creative. Groups are not. Elon and Englebart likely developed new ideas that were sparked by conversations with others, but that’s far different than committee meetings.
They decidedly don't want to be creative, they just want the clone of the thing. Actually, it's often how you get the work done. Too much creativity is a problem. Linus started his work on Linux kernel because he wanted a Minix clone. It was as creative-less act as it gets.
Take somebody who wrote OpenTTD, open Transport Tycoon clone. It was an exact replica of the original game (later of course people got more creative with it).
The same time could have been spent creating, for instance, Stardew Valley. The author didn't decide to make just a Harvest Moon clone.
That is roughly a difference between a non-creative project and a creative project.
Even if judging by surface appearance something is a clone, there might still be a lot of creativity involved "under the hood" i.e. in the implementation. In the case of Linux it was originally optimized for 80386 and is a monolithic kernel while Minix is a microkernel design. Fine-tuning it to run fast on 80386 must surely have involved a lot of creativity?
The open source clones you mention are arguably not technically innovative (or some other word that stems from “novel”), but I’d argue that releasing a clone under a permissive license is novel (and creative), too.
You can argue that on some level, yes, any translation is creative. But I don't think it's the same as writing an original novel (even if the result is bad). On some level, it's decidedly non-creative (and that's what the GP asked about), because you already have the characters, the story, the words. And apparently, some people are fine with already having all that. (It's even not deemed creative enough to be considered different for the copyright.)
Is coloring a coloring-book creative? Compared to making your own drawings?
As for that question though, I'll push it a bit further - is drawing an outline of a bird creative? I'd argue it's more interesting than the next person coloring the bird. But it's also decidedly less interesting that what evolution has done in generating a bird from billions of years of evolution.
But I'd say yeah, something was created because the artist had a desire for the bird, and then produced it. Or, the artist (for some definition) had a desire for a green bird, then colored it. Of course, neither the drawing of the bird nor the coloring was novel.
So as it's not an autonomous manufacturing process, it's creative. Your bones generating blood cells is not creative work.
Software that adds colors between lines isn't itself creative, but the person who developed the software used creativity.
* I'm not a philosopher.
Is he though?
"Tesla is spending more than $1 billion per quarter to sustain its existing business and ramp up production of its troubled Model 3. "
Furthermore, this is how the study assessed creativity:
> creativity was assessed with 10 items (e.g., “I have a vivid imagination”) from the International Personality Item Pool [...]. Participants rated the accuracy of the items as they applied to themselves on a 5-point scale (1 = Very inaccurate, 5 = Very accurate).
Meaning that they self-assessed how creative they currently feel. It was not measured how creative they actually are (though I wouldn't know how you could do that)
And these are the findings:
> shyness was related positively to both types of aggression, anxiety sensitivity, and social anhedonia, and was related negatively to creativity. Avoidance was related positively to both types of aggression and social anhedonia, and was related negatively to creativity. Of note, unsociability was related negatively to both types of aggression, and was related positively to creativity.
This directly contradicts the article's claims of "the character traits of 'shyness, avoidance, [and] unsociability' [...] are positively associated with creativity."
And, as others pointed out happiness != creative output as implied in the article: "Furthermore, intelligent people are happier when they have less social interaction, even with their friends"
So it seems like it's not as clear cut as they make it out to be.
Entertaining but a bit sad. Clearly had bad experiences with collaboration and believe they are unique rockstars who only have to produce code, rather than a product that people want.
The conclusion doesn’t seem to be the people in groups are unhappy, just that the output isn’t as novel in contrast.
Maybe being happy stifles our deeper creative powers?
If creating is a reflexive behavior for adapting to circumstance, we need to be less creative on our own when we’re in a group.
Unfortunately, there is also evil genius (in wickedness) of individuals : Jack the Ripper, Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hussein, etc.
Groups are usually always mediocre since there are not many geniuses. It explains why systems of extreme group thinking like Communism never work out.
It is interesting that even outstanding things created by comittee - Ada for instance - are barely successful while inventions of individuals - Wirth's Pascal, Kernighan's C and von Rossum's Python for instance -- were/are widely successful.
When groups of small men attempt great enterprises they always end by reducing them to the level of their own mediocrity (Napoleon)
Or as one modern creative genius put it:
What do you care what other people think? (Feynman)
The idea that 'collaboration' is cramming everyone into an open plan office is idiotic and has more to do with corporate cost saving than any coherent attempt at getting people to work better together.
Remote/home working collaboration is the norm now, yet the old command and control hierarchies, because they generally don't work that way, still have little visibility or understanding of how people actually work together.
Then in my most recent project, I've done some of the best work of my life in conjunction with a collaborator. She was someone I chose, and we both brought our respective disciplines to bear. We were both quite open to and respectful of each other's input. But a lot of our work was done in solitude. Sometimes one or the other would bring a surprise to the next meeting, a distinctly different yet more elegant solution to the problem we set out to solve. It was easy for either of us to cast aside prior agreements and accept the more awesome result.
In previous jobs, I would be chastised for "going rogue" if I took a side journey to make something awesome. Some managers are blind to benefits like reductions in customer support/general headaches, increase in usability, reduction of time and motion, or just the general wow factor, when they are looking at meeting minutes.
IMO Collaboration is like any other tool. It can work fantastically when employed by skilled practitioners. And will produce shoddy results in the hands of the unskilled. Ego, pride and self-obsession also contribute to failure. It takes a somewhat enlightened person to be willing to let someone else in to their creative process. To accept criticism as a necessary part of the process of making great work, instead of taking it personally. To go to the mat as the lone dissenting voice when they know they're on to something great. And to know the difference when their own idea is something really great vs. gratuitous crap.
If something will be decided by what everybody agrees, you're assuring it'll be by the lowest possible dominator, the lowest level that makes everybody understand and agree to.
For a given bounded region.
I have been thinking about abstraction recently (for other reasons, related to learning). To me, abstraction is transformation of the space with the problem to a space where you can easier manipulate the objects the way the problem requires it. For example, we can have image represented as pixels, and we can abstract it into lines and geometric shapes. So the operation, such as moving this triangle from here to there, that would be complicated in pixel representation becomes trivial in the more abstracted, geometric shape representation.
Back to the original point. Here are some examples of people invoking abstraction in order to solve some problem:
E.F.Codd invented relational model (abstraction) for databases. It let him solve some issues that people struggled with before (how to organize data and build queries) more efficiently.
Jeff Dean invented the map-reduce paradigm of distributed computation. The original map-reduce implementation was only about 1000 lines of code.
You can also see that abstraction has a cost - it doesn't let you do all possible operations more efficiently, just some that you might be interested in. It's a trade off that you have to make in order to present your idea to the world, to make it work. However, the point is to solve enough with the new abstraction that other people take notice and will naturally help dealing with the complexity of the edge cases.
There are many other examples of abstraction from computer science (for example, high-level languages), and even more examples in mathematics. It's how many mathematicians conduct their business - trying to come up with new abstractions (new definitions) that let you handle complicated proofs in a more straightforward way.
Hierarchy allows you to organize large composite efforts without relying on collaboration.
This always on nonsense is not economical
Have large data sets? BOINC
The only reason the cloud is cool is because corporate says so. ISPs have blocked home services, pay corporate for hosting!
Surely we don’t need databases running 24/7 crunching every persons data to find valuable applications in medicine for example?
Why can’t our computing look more personalized: I collect my data offline via whatever special gadgets I need ( blood sugar monitor for example) or professional help (doctors, etc) and share as it needed.
We don’t need Google Photos operating 24/7 when laptops and phones and a small dedicated backup device can do the same
It doesn’t seem all that efficient to have huge data centers around the globe on all day when lower power, less complicated infra could do the work only as needed
Groupthink can be avoided if the culture rewards critical thinking. That includes:
- team members should be free to dissent from the majority if there's a reason.
- team members should keep a reasonable level of skepticism when it comes to other members' claims. if someone shows high confidence, that confidence should be also be subject to skepticism.
- if someone wishes to communicate their opinion, it needs to be done explicitly. e.g: in my opinion, <opinion here>. Interleaving opinions and facts creates unnecessary noise and bias. Usage of superlatives should be kept to a minimum as well.
Really intelligent people often are poor... Once you get rich, you get lazy because your money starts working for you and people around you constantly feed you with false confidence and optimism and this makes you even lazier.
The smartest people I know are all poor in terms of wealth but sometimes they have high incomes.
Intelligence is not a single thing because there are many different types and almost no one is good at all of them.
There is emotional intelligence, reasoning ability, critical thinking, communication ability, spatial reasoning skills, mathematical ability, subconscious reasoning, etc...
Most engineers I know have trouble reading facial cues when interacting with other people. Also they don't realize when they are being manipulated and they are incapable of manipulating others to get what they want.
People who have high emotional intelligence can essentially read the other person's emotions while they're talking to them and they can use the feedback to adjust their speech to make it more convincing. I think that's definitely a form of intelligence and it requires a lot of practice as well as natural skill.
I've met some very uneducated people with very high emotional intelligence.
They are if they made their own money. But there's no correlation between intelligence and inherited wealth.
 http://www.businessinsider.com/brainstorming-3-reasons-why-e... (sorry, couldn't hunt down original paper mentioned in the article)
Try to pin them down on specifics, and you get labeled as obstructionist or otherwise "difficult".
I wonder if I get downvoted for saying this. I think misandry is politically correct, because it's not that discrimination is frowned upon, it's just misogyny and racism.
In one of his autobiographical books, Richard Feynman has a passage in which he says that one of the best things about being at Caltech was the constant interaction with other talented people. The practice of science is much more collaborative than popular 'great men' hagiography portrays it.
I have no doubt at all that there are many examples where forced collaboration has been counter-productive, but the successes of modern science suggest that this article is completely wrong about the optimal conditions for creativity.
It’s actually Personality and Individual Differences