Space to Think

The challenge that leaders face goes beyond just having time. Time to think matters, but also we must find the right the environment in which to think, and find the right people to think with.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2005 how Bill Gates scheduled two one week slots each year as his ‘Think Weeks’, other leaders find the same value in making time to think, but one of the phrases we often hear with our more senior clients is that “There is no time to think”.

About ‘Space to Think’

We believe that the challenge that leaders face goes beyond just having time to think. While having time to think matters [1], it is also import to find the right the environment in which you think [2], and find the right people to think with [3].

What we do

Our answer is ‘Space to Think’.

Space to Think provides an excursion from the world of the office, a coach to challenge and support exploration, and a structure to move from problem through ideation to solution. We work with our clients on the key aspects of good innovative thinking and action:

Problem identification Albert Einstein is often quoted as suggesting that “the formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution”. Identifying a creative solution is supported by finding the right problem [4] [5] and creativity applied to problem definition is quite distinct from creativity in solution finding. [6]

Idea Generation The generation of new ideas benefits from a process, from metaphorical and allegorical thinking, and from the exposure to un-related and marginally related prompts and cues [7]. It is also important to allow space and time for problems to rest and dwell in the subconscious. [8]

Idea Selection In complex and wicked problem situations, and where there are many competing and early stage ideas, selection is more by instinct and gut feel that by analysis and formal evaluation [9]. Intrigue, interest and scope for action become the key criteria for selection.

Solution Development The usual and proper business concerns of a C Suite executive – risk, cost, achievability – are also the biggest risk to early stage ideas [10] – ideas, like infants, need nurturing and developing in a safe and protected environment before they can be released to full potential. [11]

The Space to Think intervention takes senior executives and exec teams through a structured process, in a psychologically safe setting, via inspiring environments, and coached idea development to find new and innovative solutions to apply in their work.

[1] M. Baer and G. R. Oldham, “The Curvilinear Relation Between Experienced Creative Time Pressure and Creativity: Moderating Effects of Openness to Experience and Support for Creativity” Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 91, no. 4, pp. 963-70, 2006. 
[2] M. Rhodes, “An Analysis of Creativity” Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 42, pp. 205-210, 1961. 
[3] Scientific American Mind, “Let Your Creativity Soar” Scientific American Mind, pp. 24-31, Jun/Jul 2008. 
[4] J. W. Getzels and M. Csikszentmihalyi, “The Creative Vision: A Longitudinal Study of Problem Finding in Art”, Wiley, 1976. 
[5] E. J. Robinson and R. Reiter-Palmon, “Problem identification and construction: What do we know, what is the future?” Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, pp. 43-47, 2009. 
[6] M. A. Runco and J. Nemiro, “Problem finding, creativity, and giftedness” Roeper Review Vol. 16 Issue 4, pp. 235-242, 1994. 
[7] W. J. J. Gordon, “Synectics : the development of creative capacity”, London: Harper & Row, 1961. 
[8] E. Segal, “Incubation in insight problem solving“, Creativity Research Journal, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 141-148, 2004. 
[9] A. Dijksterhuis, M. W. Bos, L. F. Nordgren and R. B. v. Baaren, “On Making the Right Choice: The Deliberation-Without-Attention Effect“, Science, pp. 1005-1007, 17 Feb 2006. 
[10] A. Herman and R. Reiter-Palmon, “The effect of regulatory focus on idea generation and idea evaluation,” Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 5(1), p. 13–20, 2011. 
[11] M. M. Hammond, N. L. Neff, J. L. Farr, A. R. Schwall and X. Zhao, “Predictors of Individual-Level Innovation at Work: A Meta-Analysis,” Psychology of Aesthetics Creativity and the Arts, pp. 90-105, 2011.