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  • David Loughry 9:25 pm on January 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , fast company, life-hacks, networks, ,   

    Research Showing Some Variety People May Have More Creative Ideas 

    I was reading an article in Fast Company when I came across some research showing something I had suspected in a general way. It said “individuals connected to disparate clusters of people have more creative ideas than those with homogenous, closed social networks.” It’s based on an aspect of network science called “brokerage,” pioneered by Professor Ronald S. Burt at the University of Chicago.

    I have observed over the years that people who explore diverse ideas, areas, people, processes, etc. seem to make more integrated and novel creative connections. Such people are a kind of variety people, and “individuals connected to disparate clusters of people” are a kind of subset of the people I’m talking about. So the research shows, you may well boost your creativity by being the kind of variety person who is connected to disparate clusters of people!

    Here’s the link to the full article, about an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley:

  • David Loughry 12:02 pm on April 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , markets, networks, , , , systems   

    Variety Can be Increased with a Different Approach 

    Of course jobs, work and markets often demand that we do the same thing over and over. And of course, some people are perhaps born specialists — they just love a prolonged focus in an area or subject of expertise.

    But I have a feeling that many people would like more variety than they get. Actually, it’s more than just a feeling. I’ve worked in many different industries and markets, and met many different kinds of people. It’s my impression that many of them specialized because they had to, rather than they wanted to.

    Personally, I like doing several different things. I like thinking, painting, and writing, but also building, creating new projects, and working with people. I also like variety in areas like recreation, socializing, and daily activities.

    I think part of the problem is the way our society is organized, so it’s the fault of no one person or group. Rather, it’s the system. And systems are things we can change. I’ve thought a lot about this, and I believe the changes needed involve more proximity thinking. But understanding proximity thinking involves taking some time to learn about the ProxThink framework I developed. Part of the framework is a sustainable proximities approach, which involves relating not only to people and group efforts (like businesses, organizations, clubs, governments, etc.), but also to proximities.

    Briefly, a proximity consists of elements related or potentially related to a situation, in physical, mental and other ways. But instead of going into all that here, I’ll point you to two links, at the end of this post.

    However, keep the following basic idea in mind: a greater focus on creating and maintaining viable proximities allows more variety within those proximities. This contrasts with how markets focus more effort and attention on individual elements like people and businesses. And given current systems, this makes some sense. In the absence of ways to relate to proximities, it’s not surprising people focus on themselves and their own business. However, with networks, we have the ability to monitor and relate more directly to proximities, and the sustainable proximities approach provides ways to do that. So together, networks and the sustainable proximities approach provide ways to relate to proximities. Don’t worry if this kind of thinking doesn’t come naturally at first. It can take a little getting used to. My hope is that by building some working examples of this approach, it will become more natural and obvious. This Variety People site may become one of those working examples. In cultivating variety, we relate to proximities.

    For a general introduction to ProxThink, see the main site:

    Here’s an introduction to the sustainable proximities approach:

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