How Open Plan Offices Kill Creativity

How Open Plan Offices Kill Creativity

We’re twenty years into the 20th century and most organizations–including the high tech firms that are supposedly leading-edge–still have workplaces that reflect non-scientific industrial age ideas of what productivity and creativity is all about.

Entrepreneurs and executives seem to be having a difficult time letting go of long-standing concepts that alienate a large percentage of the employees–the introverts–the very people are most likely to create and innovate with technology and systems.

Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not more creative than extroverts. They are, however, creative in a quite different way.

Extroverts are creative when it comes to interpersonal relationships and group dynamics, which is why they make good managers. For example, a study published by the American Psychological Association found that supervisors who tested high in creativity also tended to test high in extroversion.

By contrast, introverts tend to be creative when it comes to technical solutions and systems. For example, a study of 740 professional employees of consulting engineering firms conducted by the American Society of Civil Engineers found that

“a greater percentage of consulting engineers have a Type preference for Introversion over Extraversion, Intuition over Sensing, Thinking over Feeling, and Judging over Perceiving than the national U.S. population.”

Obviously, to be as creative as possible, an organization ideally needs a mix of introverts and extraverts and provide an environment that fosters both types of creativity.

However, because entrepreneurs and executives tend to be extraverts (i.e. primarily creative with people), they wrongly assume that their employees will thrive an environment that that’s socially stimulating like an open plan office.

Source: Inc.

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