Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It Took Two Steves To Make An Apple

"Lone geniuses are out," Susan Cain writes. "Collaboration is in." Companies, schools, and even churches are relentlessly trying to get people to work together even when they'd rather work, play, and pray alone. Many of us, and especially introverts, do our most creative thinking by ourselves, and with the warrant of Picasso himself, who said, "Without great solitude, no serious work is possible." Cain, who has a book coming out called Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking, suggests we acknowledge and harness both aspects of our social temperament:
[M]ost humans have two contradictory impulses: we love and need one another, yet we crave privacy and autonomy.

To harness the energy that fuels both these drives, we need to move beyond the New Groupthink and embrace a more nuanced approach to creativity and learning. Our offices should encourage casual, cafe-style interactions, but allow people to disappear into personalized, private spaces when they want to be alone. Our schools should teach children to work with others, but also to work on their own for sustained periods of time. And we must recognize that introverts like Steve Wozniak need extra quiet and privacy to do their best work.

Hat tip to Maarja Krusten

1 comment:

DJC said...

In our department, office environment is dictated by our managers, and  in the case of mine that means wide open spaces and no privacy or noise barriers. Our department is unusual to the rest of the corporation as most adhere to antiquated cubicles (I mean that literally, they’re 35+ years old). A promised future redesign corporate wide has opened discussion in our group about optimal work environments, nevertheless a brief meeting with our manager sank our hopes for more sheltered work spaces.  It’s unfortunate, but the need for your own personal space at work is, depending on the views of those in charge, often considered at best incompatible to team efforts and at worst anti-social. Considering that we spend the lion’s share of our life in the workplace, it seems more understanding should be given to providing a comfortable work environment.
My corporation put in place, years ago, the ability for each of its employees to work from home via computer, nevertheless the corporate mindset has still not embraced the concept and use of VPN is rare. For many of us this often means commuting 2+ hours a day to sit in front of a computer in house to accomplish a work day that we could just as easily complete on our own home computers. Considering the time wasted commuting, adding to gas expenditure,  traffic congestion and road wear, would it not make sense for the government to give corporations with a system in place a little kick back incentive to promote allowing their employees to work at home via VPN one or two days a week? Think of the savings in gas and road repair nationwide! Not to mention the potential for more money to be spent for other family necessities which may help our economy rather than going to foreign oil interests.