After Hours at Zicklin — Session V

This lovely September evening was a great night to get out and enjoy discussing the issues of the day.  Zicklineers et al gathered at Andreas Kitchen with wine and some snacks.

Introductions started with a new angle: tell us who you are and describe a moment or event when you were at your best.  Try that one on for size.  It’s not a as easy as you think.  Responses ranged from good social & networking skills, going the extra mile,  to the satisfaction at the completion of a 2+ year project.  When did you shine? Can you artfully describe it?

We moved on the topic of the evening creativity.  Po Bronson wrote a piece in Newsweek recently that caused a bit of a stir. Are we facing a crisis of creativity?  What do you think?

Let’s be clear what we are talking about.  It’s not being independent, quirky, or even artsy.  Creativity is when the magic happens.  Using both hemispheres of your brain.  It happens when scientists, dancers, engineers, artists and even with MBAers really get down to it and breakthrough.  Whatever it is, Mr. Bronson makes a pretty good argument that we are seeing less of it.

Everyone brought up some good observations that coincide with the decline since the 90′s. The AHZ group was clever enough not to confuse correlation with causality, but there is certainly something going on (or maybe not going on).

  • We are just too damn occupied. Were is the down time?  The little bits here are there we would just do nothing and stare into space. Now you are constantly on and being fed a diet of data.
  • We want answers now that are simple.  One peer noted that if he changed just a negative sign in a problem set for this students, they were flummoxed.  “You didn’t teach us that!”  Is it the students? Is it the teachers, or is it the system?
  • Employers want some object ranking system such as a GPA to pick the best.  We all know that 4.0 GPA says only that you are good student.  It says nothing about whether you will be a good leader or manager.
  • We don’t allow failure.  One peer noted that in his band if he struck a bad note or dropped a melody, everyone kept on going or compensated.  Are you allowed to make a mistake (big or small) in your workplace? What do you, your colleagues and or bosses do when someone make a boo boo.

Now it wouldn’t be an AHZ session without something really interesting to converse over.  This recent blog post on HBR Where The Free Market Fails: Online Dating stirred things up. The next time you are meeting someone new (dating or not) try some deeper questions.  Research found that asking delving queries result in happier participates.  Here are the questions researchers had daters ask each other:

  • How many romantic partners have you had?
  • When was your last breakup?
  • Do you have any STDs?
  • Have you ever broken someone’s heart?

Wow! Getting right to the heart (pun intended) of the matter!  And it’s related to markets and business.

Come to the next AHZ. We promise it won’t be dull!


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