Weeknotes Weeks 152-153

The middle of February is Ski Week in Finland. I was holding down the fort while Marco, Justin, and Dan were on holiday with their families. Needless to say, it was a quiet week and a good time to do some reading. I'm currently enjoying Thinking Fast and Slow, and feeling as I read that I'm a spectator to my own behavior.

The Hietalahti shipyard was in top form last week
The Hietalahti shipyard was in top form last week

Also on the reading pile was a recent piece in the New Yorker that questions the usefulness of brainstorming, particularly the bit that focuses on the work of Charlan Nemeth, a professor of psychology at University of Califonia Berkeley. Psychology has been a constant source of interest over the past few months: 

‘Do not criticize’ is often cited as the important instruction in brainstorming, this appears to be a counterproductive strategy. Our findings show that debate and criticism do not inhibit ideas but, rather, stimulate them relative to every other condition.” Osborn thought that imagination is inhibited by the merest hint of criticism, but Nemeth’s work and a number of other studies have demonstrated that it can thrive on conflict....

Criticism allows people to dig below the surface of the imagination and come up with collective ideas that aren’t predictable.

I like this because it brings a bit of weight to one of the working assumptions of the studio: that a mood of collegiate debate is useful in really testing ideas so that they are as robust as possible when they come out the far side of the discussion.

Other things. We're doing a second printing of the book. Mostly we need more copies because our supply is dwindling, but it also gives us a chance to correct any typos or other mistakes. Do let us know if you've spotted something.

Marco has been doing some work with DMI as co-chair of their European event which will be held here in Helsinki this year. That's April 25-26 if you're going to be in town (or would like to be) and it promises to be good with a focus on "consumer + citizen + community + society".

And yes, I did get a chance to take a break so I visited Saariselkä which is near the top of the world
And yes, I did get a chance to take a break so I visited Saariselkä which is near the top of the world


Cognitively speaking, rigid structures and constructs help foster creativity. People want to break free, and so they creatively work within the boundaries given and produce rich insights and methods. 

I agree and disagree, however. I have been thinking about this since I first heard of the debate raised about brainstorming from this article. I think there are benefits for and against critisism/debate during a brainstorm.

If you're doing a quick 15/20 minute brainstorm, then debate over ideas will deter from the mass production of unhindered thought. But if you're brainstorming in a verbally collaborative and extended timeframe, then debate definitely helps foster rich thoughts; that's the beauty of conversation.

Thanks for posting! What's the procedure around Recipes for Systematic Change? Would love to hold a printed version. There's something powerful about interacting with a physical copy, writing in the margins and drawing out ideas. 

The book can be picked up in person from our offices if you happen to be in Helsinki permanently or on a visit, otherwise you're best off checking with the bookshops listed on the page. And once we have the second printing done we will hopefully have copies on Amazon.

Excellent, and thanks for the quick reply. I should have noticed the locations previously. 

Would love to be in Helskini on a permanent basis, but am currently bound to the states. If I find myself in town, I'll be sure to stop in.

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