10 Cognitive Biases That Cramp Your Creativity At Work

Confirmation Bias [image] - 10 Cognitive Biases That Cramp Your Creativity At Work

 

Confirmation Bias Short Definition

Selective perception. Looking for affirmation of your beliefs, values, or hypotheses.

Quick Example

Soccer referee seeing fewer home team mistakes; teammate who ‘always does that.’

Creativity Cramping Example At Work

You hear a rumor that your team’s highest profile project is getting cut. The next day, you see closed door meetings (you interpret them as proof). The day after, you get switched to another project (you interpret that as further proof). This cramps your creativity because you’re making decisions and imposing constraints based on an incorrect notion.

 

In-Group Bias [image] - 10 Cognitive Biases That Cramp Your Creativity At Work

 

In-Group Bias Short Definition

A preference toward people like you. A survival instinct to know friends from enemies to protect you from demise.

Quick Example

A natural draw to closely value colleagues who think, dress, or behave similar to you.

Creativity Cramping Example At Work

You need another set of eyes on your proposal. Rather than asking your careful, deep-thinking colleague, you ask your fast-moving teammate because he ‘gets it.’

 

Probability Neglect [image] - 10 Cognitive Biases That Cramp Your Creativity At Work

 

Probability Neglect Short Definition

Short Definition: Conservatism (perceived safety) weighs more heavily than the accurate likelihood.

 Quick Example

People were afraid to believe the earth is round because you had to risk falling off of
the edge to test it; fear of flying; fear of shark attack.

Creativity Cramping Example At Work

Creativity Cramping Example At Work: You don’t take risks that could put you at your very best because you fear the negative consequence such as, “If I say no to this they’ll never offer me an opportunity again.”

 

Selection Bias [image] - 10 Cognitive Biases That Cramp Your Creativity At Work

 

Selection Bias Short Definition

Unconscious, selective perception; a clustering illusion based on what you’re filtering due to current interest or awareness.

Quick Example

You bought a red Toyota and suddenly you see an increase of red Toyotas on the road.

Creativity Cramping Example At Work

You hear about a hot new marketing phenomenon called “sidewalk interviews” where you talk to customers on city streets. After learning about it, you see dozens of those videos the next week at work. It looks like THE choice, so you discount creative options you were considering.

 

Status Quo Bias [image] - 10 Cognitive Biases That Cramp Your Creativity At Work

 

Status Quo Bias Short Definition

Fear that the new choice will be worse than the current state. Also called Ostrich effect.

Quick Example

Parable of cutting off the ends of the ham because parents taught it for generations. Source is that it didn’t fit in the pan 200 years ago.

Creativity Cramping Example At Work

A company merger. People individually wonder if their effort in investing time learning new people and systems will be worth their time. So they keep ideas to themselves and innovation stalls.

 

Negativity Bias [image] - 10 Cognitive Biases That Cramp Your Creativity At Work

 

Negativity Bias Short Definition

Anxiety about what could hurt us – this survival fear leads us to focus on what is negative or potentially harmful.

Quick Example

Avoiding a great new restaurant because it requires you to walk through a city street where your friend got mugged 15 years ago.

Creativity Cramping Example At Work

Not wanting to share a creative idea at work because a difficult teammate (who is in the room) will likely react in a way that makes you look stupid. In this case, anticipating the bad response made you withhold a bright idea.

 

Anchoring Bias [image] - 10 Cognitive Biases That Cramp Your Creativity At Work

 

Anchoring Bias Short Definition

Tendency for groups to think or act alike due to early information presented (the behaviors can be good or bad). Can also evolve into social norms.

Quick Example

When your parents keep reminding you of days when gas (petrol) cost 70 cents per gallon (or insert absurdly low price) – their anchor price.

Creativity Cramping Example At Work

Creativity Cramping Example At Work: An influential person presents a compelling piece of data. Three others quickly affirm and build on that concept. That data evolves into a model for thinking. Within weeks, new evidence and ideas get overlooked because the team is anchored in the model that came from a single comment in a meeting.

 

Recency Bias [image] - 10 Cognitive Biases That Cramp Your Creativity At Work

 

Recency Bias Short Definition

The natural bent toward “now” as the truth over the future or the past.

 

Quick Example

Thinking that real estate prices will continue to go up steeply because they are doing that right now.

Creativity Cramping Example At Work

Doing emails, attending long stretches of meetings, and finishing urgent tasks now because you intend to preserve a block of time for the important, deep work later. And then later doesn’t come.

 

 Functional Fixedness [image] - 10 Cognitive Biases That Cramp Your Creativity At Work

 

Functional Fixedness Short Definition

Seeing something only in the way it is traditionally used.

 

Quick Example

Adhesive material + paper = permanent sticker, like a warning sign. Breaking the Functional Fixedness allowed 3M to create sticky notes.

Creativity Cramping Example At Work

A common example at work is team meetings. Meetings often follow a traditional flow and structure on each team. Knowing what to expect is great, yet shaking up the structure, purpose, length, or flow can allow creative sparks.

 

Choice Support Bias [image] - 10 Cognitive Biases That Cramp Your Creativity At Work

 

Choice Support Bias Short Definition

Noticing the positive attributes of a choice you’ve already made while discounting or missing the negative aspects to save face.

Quick Example

On a well-planned holiday trip, you arrive to a dingy hotel that is not up to the quality you expected. Rather than admitting you should have chosen the other hotel, you talk up the good elements, like the location and price.

Creativity Cramping Example At Work

After a six month search, selecting a person for your project team. Even when they fail at many expectations, you make excuses for them or give them extra chances because you want to support the investment you’ve made in them.