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Originals

How Non-Conformists Move the World

By Adam Grant
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What is Originals about?

Originals is a captivating exploration of what it takes to be an innovative thinker and creator. Grant reveals that originality is not a fixed trait but a skill that can be nurtured. Through engaging stories and research-backed insights, he shares practical strategies for challenging the status quo, embracing uncertainty, and overcoming fear of failure. This book will inspire you to unleash your creativity and make a lasting impact in your personal and professional life.

Adam Grant is a highly influential organizational psychologist known for his best-selling books "Give and Take" and "Originals". He is recognized for his fresh perspectives on success, motivation, and creativity in the workplace. Grant's writing style is engaging and thought-provoking, as he challenges traditional notions of leadership and productivity. He explores the power of collaboration, generosity, and original thinking, offering valuable insights for both individuals and organizations striving for innovation and success.

10 Key Ideas of Originals

  1. Embrace the Power of Procrastination for Creative Thinking

    Delaying tasks strategically can foster innovation by allowing more time for ideas to incubate and evolve. Procrastination gives your subconscious the opportunity to process complex problems, leading to more creative solutions. Instead of rushing to complete tasks, allow yourself moments of deliberate delay to enhance your problem-solving capabilities.

    • Identify the Right Tasks to Procrastinate On: Not all tasks are suitable for procrastination. Choose tasks that require creativity or complex problem-solving. Routine or time-sensitive tasks might not benefit from delay.

    • Set Intentional Procrastination Periods: Instead of indefinitely postponing a task, set a specific time frame for your procrastination. For example, if you have a project due in two weeks, allow yourself a few days to step away from it intentionally.

    • Engage in Different Activities During Procrastination: Use your procrastination period to engage in activities unrelated to the task at hand. This could be going for a walk, reading a book, or even working on a completely different project. The goal is to give your subconscious mind a break from the problem.

    • Reflect and Take Notes: During and after your procrastination period, take some time to reflect on any new ideas or perspectives that come to mind regarding your project. Keep a notebook or digital note-taking app handy to jot down these insights.

    • Implement a Deadline for Decision Making: After your intentional procrastination period, set a firm deadline for when you need to start acting on your task. This ensures that procrastination doesn't turn into avoidance.

    • Example

      Imagine you're tasked with developing a new marketing strategy for your company. Instead of diving straight into brainstorming sessions, you decide to procrastinate intentionally for a week. During this week, you focus on other projects, read a novel, and spend time with family. Ideas related to the marketing strategy start to surface naturally during your downtime, leading to a more innovative approach when you finally sit down to work on it.

    • Example

      You're a software developer facing a complex coding problem. You choose to procrastinate on solving it by setting aside two days to work on a different, less demanding project. During these two days, your mind subconsciously processes the complex problem. When you return to it, you find that you're able to approach the issue with fresh eyes and come up with a solution more creatively than if you had forced yourself to tackle it head-on immediately.

  2. Cultivate a Culture of Dissent and Encourage Constructive Criticism

    Promoting an environment where dissent is welcomed and constructive criticism is valued can lead to breakthrough innovations. Encouraging diverse viewpoints and challenging the status quo stimulates critical thinking and prevents groupthink. This approach fosters a culture of continuous improvement and originality by ensuring that all ideas are scrutinized and refined.

    • Create a 'No Judgment' Zone: Start meetings with a clear statement that every idea is welcome, no matter how unconventional. This sets the stage for open communication and encourages team members to share their thoughts without fear of ridicule.

    • Implement 'Devil's Advocate' Sessions: Regularly schedule sessions where team members are assigned the role of devil's advocate. Their job is to challenge ideas and assumptions, which helps in identifying weaknesses and areas for improvement.

    • Encourage Feedback Loops: After presenting an idea, actively seek out feedback from diverse perspectives. Make it a habit to ask, 'What could go wrong with this approach?' or 'How can we make this idea even better?'

    • Reward Constructive Criticism: Recognize and reward team members who offer constructive criticism that leads to improvements or innovations. This reinforces the value of dissent and encourages others to contribute critically.

    • Example

      At Pixar Animation Studios, they use a process called 'braintrust meetings' where creators present their work in progress and receive candid feedback from peers. This culture of candid critique has been instrumental in producing hit movies.

    • Example

      In a software development team, implementing regular code review sessions where developers critique each other's code can lead to higher quality software. Constructive criticism in these sessions not only improves the code but also fosters a learning environment.

  3. Generate a Large Volume of Ideas to Increase Originality

    The key to producing original and innovative ideas is to generate a large quantity of them. The majority of ideas may not be groundbreaking, but within a high volume of concepts, there are likely to be gems. This practice encourages creative thinking and ensures a higher chance of uncovering unique and impactful solutions.

    • Set aside dedicated brainstorming time: Schedule regular sessions, even if it's just 15 minutes a day, to jot down any and all ideas that come to mind. Don't judge or filter them at this stage; the goal is to let your creativity flow freely.

    • Keep an idea journal: Carry a small notebook or use a digital app to capture thoughts and inspirations as they occur throughout your day. This habit ensures you don't lose those fleeting moments of genius.

    • Implement a 'no idea is a bad idea' policy during brainstorming sessions: Whether you're alone or with others, allow yourself to explore every avenue, no matter how outlandish it may seem at first. This opens up the floor for more creative and diverse thinking.

    • Challenge yourself to reach a specific number of ideas: For example, if you're trying to come up with a new product concept, don't stop until you've listed at least 50 possibilities. This pushes you beyond your initial thoughts and often where the more original ideas are found.

    • Review and refine regularly: Set a time each week to go back through your ideas. With fresh eyes, you can see which ones have potential and start developing those further.

    • Example

      A marketing team aiming to come up with a groundbreaking campaign decides to hold daily 10-minute brainstorming sessions. In these sessions, every member is encouraged to voice any idea, no matter how unconventional. After a month, they sift through the amassed ideas and identify several unique concepts that would never have emerged through traditional meetings.

    • Example

      An aspiring author struggling with writer's block sets a challenge to write down 100 story ideas in one month. By the end of the month, not only has the exercise sparked several viable plots for new books, but it has also reignited their passion for writing and creativity.

  4. Leverage Your Outsider Advantage by Applying Diverse Perspectives

    Bringing an outsider perspective to an established field can provide unique insights and lead to original solutions. Outsiders are not constrained by the same norms and traditions as insiders, allowing them to question assumptions and approach problems differently. Embrace your diverse experiences and apply them to new contexts to drive innovation.

    • Identify Your Unique Perspectives: Reflect on your background, experiences, and interests that differ from those in the field you're entering or contributing to. This could be your educational background, hobbies, or even life experiences that aren't directly related to the field.

    • Question Assumptions: Approach problems with a curious mindset. Ask why things are done a certain way and whether there's a rationale behind current methods. Don't take 'that's how it's always been done' as a satisfactory answer.

    • Cross-Pollinate Ideas: Look for solutions in other industries or fields that can be adapted to your current challenge. Sometimes, an approach from a completely different area can offer a fresh perspective and innovative solution.

    • Network Outside Your Field: Engage with professionals and enthusiasts from various fields. This can provide insights into how other industries tackle problems and foster creative thinking.

    • Embrace Experimentation: Be open to trying out new ideas, even if they seem unconventional. Remember, innovation often comes from the willingness to take risks and learn from failures.

    • Example

      A software developer with a passion for music might leverage their understanding of rhythm and patterns to innovate in coding algorithms, bringing a fresh perspective to problem-solving in technology.

    • Example

      An architect with a background in psychology might incorporate psychological principles into design, creating spaces that not only are aesthetically pleasing but also promote well-being and productivity.

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Originals Summary: Common Questions

Originals focuses on exploring how individuals can champion new ideas and drive creativity and change in various aspects of life, including business, politics, and culture.

Mohammad YektaBy Mohammad Yekta
We recommend Originals to anyone looking to challenge the status quo, foster innovation, and make a positive impact in their personal and professional lives. Whether you're an entrepreneur, a leader, a creative thinker, or simply someone looking to break free from conventional thinking, this book offers valuable insights and practical strategies to help you embrace your originality and drive meaningful change.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant is a standout book in the Motivation & Creativity field. For a concise summary and key takeaways, sign up for free on our platform. You'll be able to access insights from this book and summaries of other noteworthy books.

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