Expedition, high creativity and low pressure is the example that Seelig gave that best represents Google Secret Lab. According to Seelig, people “feel as though they are on an expedition because they are free to engage in unfettered exploration of opportunities (106).” When people go on an expedition, they may have low expectations as they don’t know what to expect which would also mean low pressure because they aren’t expecting anything. If people on an expedition aren’t expecting to discover anything they will work harder, have a higher creativity, in order to prove themselves wrong and discover something. Google X is asking people to explore, take risks, run experiments, learn and then repeat and improve the second time around. If there was high pressure, people wouldn’t be taking large risks because there wouldn’t be room for error if they came out on the bottom which could result in losing a job in some cases. People are afraid to fail and if constraints are set the people only meet the point, they don’t exceed. Goal is to create a culture where people feel stupid if they don’t try something new. By doing this, people are guaranteed to try something new every week which will result in more creativity and an increased number of new ideas.
“Active, alive, and am always ready” are the six words that I would use to describe myself. Tina Seelig’s claim “that severe limitations or constraints often sharpen our imagination and enhance creativity and innovation” is a statement of hers in which I would agree with. If there is a set of limitations on a situation or a task, such as a time limit, one is going to generate as many ideas as possible and then with half of the time remaining, they are going to expand on that one idea. If there isn’t a time limit or limitations, tasks get too drawn out and take forever. By adding limitations, things are done in not only a more efficient matter but also a more creative matter as well. If one knows they only have five materials and 50 minutes to come up with a solution to a problem, one will come up with a solution because they are afraid of failing. The solution may only be 90% of what is needed and that other 10% might be what comes when others contribute after the time limit is up. Coming up with some solution to a task or problem is better than coming up with no solution at all.
On page 122 of the text, Seelig states that the role of rules, rewards, and punishment is “to give credit for efforts made as well as successful completion of a task.” I agree with this statement because when one is rewarded for a creative idea they had, others are naturally punished as they aren’t being rewarded. If there is a reward, people are more likely to be creative and come up with the solution to a problem. When traveling my suitcase zipper broke and given the situation I was unable to rush out and by a new suitcase. However, I had access to bungee cords. I took the bungee cords and was able to use them to hold my suitcase together. My personal reward was saving myself the embarrassment of my suitcase busting open and having my clothes be scattered everywhere while walking into the hotel. Seelig gives the example of students playing the game Scrabble. As the students become more creative, more points were earned. The highest number of points wins the game so the reward was winning the game of Scrabble.
The employees of the google secret lab do not have constrains since they are not limited to a short amount of time to finish a task and they have the freedom to leave any particular section without the need of the manager’s permission. In addition, they get rewarded for failure instead of punished since punishing the employees would yield to fear of stepping up and success. Getting rewarded for failure makes the employees curious about the reward they would get if they succeeded which makes them explore more and take risks and repeat to achieve the goal. Therefore, I believe that the expedition scenario of the matrix that Seelig provided is the one that fits the Google Secret Lab since the Seelig’s definition of the expedition scenario is the one that apply to the Google Secret Lab. According to Seelig, people on expedition feel free to engage in unfettered exploration of opportunities. “In this situation Individuals need to be very self-motivated and inspired in order to use this stress-free time for creative endeavors” (Seelig 106). A specific example from the reading is that Amazon chose to remove the financial constrain in order to offer free shipping to the customers. Another specific example from the video would be features that Google provides for the public for free, such as, search, translate, and maps. These features are free because google chose to make value for the users and decide how to make money later.
If I would describe myself in six words, I would say “Love to observe, learn, and help.” I believe that limitations and constrains enhance our creativity and sharpen our imagination. With a limited amount of time and certain rules that you have to follow, creative ideas pop up under pressure. In order to choose only six words that describe myself, I would need to think about it and make a creative choice because I am constrained with choosing six words. When I was asked to write a paper for my HU 100 class and was given the whole quarter to work on the paper, I never thought about starting until the 8th week. That is because I was given plenty of time and did not have any constraints which made me lazy to start writing the paper. On the other hand, I believe that I will have more creative ideas if I was limited with time, which is the case in most of the exams we take.
Rules are very important in our lives and can be found everywhere, such as, school, and home. Rules are kind of constraints since they limit your choices and affect the habitat and attitude. According to Seelig, making rules is important in the process of enhancing creativity, but not all kinds of rules do that. Some rules ruins creativity and do the opposite of what was expected. An example of that would be the Washington Irving Elementary School, which was a great school since the teachers were given the control over their classrooms to make learning more interesting and enjoyable. However, a new principle came to the school and started instituting rules that lead to the collapse of the positive environment. Rewards and punishments play a huge role in enhancing creativity. I agree with Seelig because rules are made to maintain the habitat and people’s attitude in certain environments. However, rules should be made carefully, so they do not work against your expectations. By rewarding a person for reaching specific goals or exploring or even failure, you encourage that person to do more. However, punishment is for inactivity. I agree with Seelig approach which is that both success and failure should be rewarded since rewarding them would encourage them to do better to get another reward and would enhance their creativity. When I was in the elementary school, my father used to say that I will get rewarded if I got a 4.0 GPA. I did not get a 4.0 GPA, which is considered a failure since I did not achieve the goal, but I was rewarded. Rewarding people for trying keeps them motivated and encouraged.
Chapter 6: Creativity Scenarios in Google’s Secret Lab The Google Secret Labs reward failure, perhaps even encourage failure, so that the individuals have the opportunity to experience the full gamut of what it means to be a creator and live a life of creativity. This type of creativity is unbounded by the restraints of the real world. By removing themselves from the real world constraints, they are free to think outside of the box, which is like Seelig’s mission, but perhaps it is actually more like Seelig’s expedition because she explains the expedition as allowing individuals to be “free to engage in unfettered exploration of opportunities. In this situation, individuals need to be very self-motivated and inspired in order to use this stress-free time for creative endeavors” (Seelig 106). The guy from the Google Secret Labs video explained the process as not so much self-motivated, but a way to make others feel guilty by exposing them to the cool stuff that other people are doing around them. He explains that people will naturally flow from one project to the next, settling with a project and a group of people and then refiguring the structure to get the most creative work done. It seems like they are productive regardless of what they get done. Also, the importance of rapid prototyping is a great way for more tactile minds to comprehend the physicality of their design and its potential flaws more easily. I think that Seelig’s idea of rapid prototyping shows how creative people have to force themselves to fit within the constraints of the world around them, which is sometimes hard for the more creative individuals who live inside their head too much and do not necessarily think in terms of stuff. (However, computer programming and software is unlimited by the real world’s constraints so those types of creative people probably do best in situations that aren’t directly connected to the real world, but perhaps serve a purpose in the world.)
Chapter 6: Flash Fiction A person who risks is free. Seelig is right. We thrive in a world of flash fiction. We want the news in sound bites; we want Twitter’s 140 character posts; we want a short summary of a longer story with too many words; for example, most longer stories on (TL:DR is internet-speak for “too long: didn’t read). This is the world we live in now. We want to know. We want information, but we want it quickly, succinctly, and pre-packaged in a form that makes sense to us. Therefore, the media piques our interest with headlines or sound bite stories, designed to capture our attention. And a lot of them are usually pretty interesting.
Chapter 7: Rules, Rewards, and Punishments in Creativity In the Chevy Volt example, there has to be a reward to the test driver’s creativity in finding new ways to keep his mileage high. He finds new ways to charge and recharge his car, keeping the gas tank merely as a reserve for an emergency. He found a strange joy in keeping the car’s mileage high and preventing it from using gas. It was a game for him and he understood how to keep it going; yet, in turn he was saving gas and the environment around him. The Chevy Volt designers found a way to make all people interested in saving the environment by making it a game that they all could play. (But the Written? Kitten! Reward system just sounds ridiculous, but if people want to be rewarded with kittens for finishing their writing, of course there can be a way to reward people in relation to their word counts . . . but it does make me wonder if cat people just copy and paste the right number of words just to see a kitten?
I think that by setting up anything as a game that I am more likely to be creative and succeed, even investing more of my own time and effort into doing well because of the constraints of the game. If someone challenges me, I’ll outdo even what their initial challenge asked of me. I like surprising people. I like messing with people’s expectations of me. To me, it’s a game and I am more willing to take risks and become more memorable in the risk-taking. I think that risks deserve rewards and not punishments or rules in the creative process, but perhaps the rules and punishments are just meant to keep the reward system going? I have tried my own version of the rules, rewards, punishments system at work and it seemed to be going well last Thursday and Friday and it was easier to get back to things on Monday this week, so I guess that’s a good sign?
The best scenario that fits the Google Secret Lab is the expedition as demonstrated by the article and the video. The employees in the Secret Lab are under low pressure and mostly do not have time restrictions to their projects as revealed by Teller. Employees mostly have the freedom to choose which venture to get involved in and to explore and make progress on it. The fact that they are not forced to be under one boss all the time means that they are under low pressure all the time. Teller highlights that putting constraints on the employees always results in no extra work if the constraints are met. For example, if an employee is required to have completed ten percent of a project in a month, he or she will have completed only ten percent of the project and nothing more.
Here is how I would describe myself in six words as demonstrated by Tina Seelig, “Peace of mind, and my ultimate goal”. Tina Seelig’s claim that severe limitations and constraints frequently sharpen our imagination is not true in my opinion. This is as demonstrated by the google secret lab article which is in sharp contrast with her theory on limitations. In my opinion, severe constraints only work for some people but are not a universal solution to all creativity problems as she alludes. For instance, I found coming up with a creative six word description of myself rather taxing but creative process, but the employee’s in the google secret lab demonstrate that even without the pressure, some people are bound to be more creative.
Rules and rewards, according to Tina Seelig, can be changed in a way that they result in more creativity from employees or students. I totally agree with her on that issue. Some rules are prohibitive in nature forcing people to stick to known procedures hence limiting confining their creativity and focus to specific tasks. Punishments may sometimes limit creativity as demonstrated by the article on google’s secret laboratory where bosses who are perceived as harsh are often at risk of desertification by employees in the organization. In that environment, employees prefer to be freer to work towards their own inventions. People are inspired to be creative if they get frequent feedback i.e rewards as demonstrated by the audience reactions in Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain’s televised interview. In my workplace as an assistant in a small firm, the rules and regulations of the company limit my creativity and innovation because I am not allowed to venture into projects which do not resonate with the activities of the company.
Pressure highly affects creativity in numerous ways. Seelig (2012) observes that when a task is assigned to an individual or a group of individuals and it is to be delivered after a long period of time, that is, little pressure is available, the results have been found to be of low quality. This is because the individuals(s) usually overlook the seriousness of the task due to the large amount of time allocated and they tackle the task at the last minute. However, if the task is constrained by little time allocation, the tasked individuals have been found to take their work more seriously and produce good results. The author provides four ways in which pressure affects creativity. Google Secret Lab is known to encourage staff to think beyond the moon, that is, be as creative as possible within a stipulated amount of time. The engineers are encouraged to freely consult with each other in order to come up with the required creative results (BBC NEWS, 2014). The Moonshot Factory utilizes the condition of high pressure and high creativity method. Staffs are free to collaborate, since they feel and recognize that they are on a mission. In this method despite the pressurized environment there exist a precise, focused and a significant goal and staff are highly creative. Tina (2012) states that though operating under strict constraints produces good results, the companies should adopt the “lean start-up” concept that calls for development of rapid prototypes for testing the market by providing a minimum viable product. Thus, by spending the least period of time and finances on a new product prior to its release provides a speedy consumer feedback.
Like being creative, understanding and enduring. The author’s claims that severe constraints usually enhance our imagination and increase creativity and innovation are true. This is because when an individual is under pressure to deliver a task in a strict period of time they tend to engage all the parts of their body towards accomplishing the task at hand fast and innovatively. Operating under a constrained environment offers limited time to sample and narrow down to the most appropriate product. Pressure is a catalyst of innovation. Seelig (2012) demonstrates this philosophy by providing students with a project. The students were supposed to operate under very constrained time, resources and competition. The results were found to be interesting and innovative. The students were astonished by the degree of their accomplishments in an extremely limited time period and this indicated that pressure acted as perfect catalyst. The fact that I like being creative, understanding and extremely enduring offers me a safe passage to tasks under pressured environments. Sometimes I am required to be creative instantly to solve a certain problem, the issue might be depending on my immediate response. Thus, the constrained decision making offers a platform to come up with prompt innovative ideas. Endurance and understanding offers confidence to making prompt innovative decisions.
Rewards, rules, and punishments play a big role in creativity and invention. I agree with the author’s philosophy that in-order to produce results individuals require to work under constrained conditions, and rewards and punishments should be offered to guarantee proper creativity. For instance, Seelig (2012) illustrates that a students were given a holiday project and were provided with extremely limited resources that is only paper, scissors and markers. The students were required to develop a four cards prototype, the results produce were extremely creative. The creativity was fueled by available time constraints, the expected rewards and probable punishment.
The Google secret lab is an example of letting employees free to express their creativity by removing penalties for failure. The Google lab focuses on creating big new ideas, rather than maintaining the status quo. Of the four types of creativity situations mentioned on page 106 of the book, the Google secret lab most closely falls into the ‘Expedition’ category. The ‘Expedition’ category allows people to wander with their ideas, but requires that each and every person be strongly self motivated. If the self motivation is not present, then it is easy for people to fall down into the ‘Autopilot’ category. This is specifically mentioned in the video, that the employees that work at the secret lab are some of the best, brightest, and most of all hardest working. Without the employees having this strong self motivation, the Google secret lab would not fulfill its goals.
Astro Teller keeps the environment at the Google secret lab low pressure by not only removing the penalties for failure, but also incentivizing failure. By removing both the fear associated with failure and the constraining environment, the Google secret lab keeps itself in the ‘Expedition’ category and out of the ‘Treadmill’ or ‘Autopilot’ categories.
The six word phrase I’d use to introduce myself would be “I get lost learning new things”. Working with constraints does work to motivate me better, and I’ve seen numerous examples of this from other people. The six word introduction is a good example of this, because normally when asked to do an introduction I find myself at a loss for words. With so many ideas which define a person, it can be difficult to come up with a few sentences which describe you well. With the six word introduction, I came into it knowing that I’d have to focus the scope. This focus actually made the introduction much easier for me.
The first example of rewards in creativity is the interactive creative sessions held in her classes at the d.school. She mentions a situation where students and teachers can have instant feedback, and this feedback is a form of a reward and punishment for creative ideas. An example of punishment comes from the Write or Die program mentioned on page 122 of the book. The program inspires writers to keep on writing, regardless of what they write. The punishments for not writing range from annoying messages, to deletion of your previous work. From my own life, I’ve found that setting up rewards for small goals helps me achieve my larger goals. These rewards really inspire my creative mind.
The best scenario that fits the Google Secret Lab has got to be Expedition because a Google’s Secret Lab would probably require the most creative engineers around and we eliminate one of the most important constraint, which is time because of it seems like there’s relatively low pressure at Google’s secret lab. Astro Teller mentioned that they don’t punish their employees for failing because that in my opinion would implement fear in that employee and would have an opposite effect than what you really want. So if employees at Google’s Lab have a sizeable amount of time to come up with new technology plus no fear of being punished, employees there have every incentive to offer the best they got.
I’d describe myself in the following six words “Never afraid of taking risks”. I agree with Seelig’s Claim that severe limitations or constraints often sharpen our imagination. The reason I do is because I believe I take more risks than I really should. At school, I procrastinate. never get assignments long done before due dates and risk my grade suffering, yet as I’m procrastinating, I get hit with a brilliant Idea that earns me a better grade than I could’ve asked for.
Seelig mentions that Rules, rewards and punishment are an integral part of any environments and dramatically influence our behavior (117). Rules rewards and punishments can be employed to encourage innovation, which usually fosters an artistic environment and encourages more creativity in general. The example of the Chevy volt and how not having to fill up your car with gas is both a reward and a rule in my opinion. Seelig was charging the car whenever the chance presented itself. That rewarded her with keeping more money in her pocket. A rule that she stuck by was she always recharged when she saw the opportunity, she employed a rule for herself and it rewarded her with extra cash. One example from my professional life would be getting projects completed on time, there’s a bonus waiting for me at the other side and it’s taken away if it’s not done by the due date.
The possible scenario that fist Google secret lab is Expedition in which the creativity is high and the pressure is low. According to Seelig, people “feel as though they are on an expedition because they are free to engage in unfettered exploration of opportunities (106).” Also, Teller illustrates how the Google X works. They give their employees the ultimate freedom to solve a problem. Also, they encourage them to try new stuff, think out of the box and not worrying about failing. Thus, the pressure is low and the creativity is high describing the Expedition scenario. Moreover, Teller explains how fear and constraints affect the creativity and the production of their employ. The fear of losing their job would not let them think out of the box and try new stuff because they don’t want to fail. Also, setting a constraint is like setting a limit to the engineers. Their goal will be only achieving that limit, nothing more. Moreover, the engineers in google gather at that secret lab sharing ideas and getting feed backs which seeligs names it rapid prototyping. As a result, they will come up with great ideas and the potential of failing decreases.
I would describe myself in six words as “prepared to make some bad decisions”. I agree with Seelig that severe limitations or constraints often sharpen our imagination and enhance creativity and innovation. It is more of a challenge to the brain which is practicing the ones imaginations and creativity to come out with the best solution. For example, the challenge of introducing myself in six words. The challenge is to try to write one sentence consist of six words that describe me completely. It took me some time to come up with mine which is “prepared to make some bad decisions”. What I mean is am always prepared and ready also I have the desire to have some fun but I know my limits.
The role of rules is to show us the right road map to follow in order to reach the desired creativity. Also, its role is to set the constraints that we should consider when we are coming up with ideas. The role of rewards is motivations. The employees will be motivated and will compete with each other to win that reward. As a results, they will come up with the best ideas. Moreover, the role of punishment is put some fear in them. Therefore, they will have this inner force to come with solution to avoid the punishment. All of these three are to enhance the creativity. I partly disagree with her regarding that punishment could lead to creativity. Personally, I found that method is ineffective. It is only will plant fear in their minds leading them to come up with any idea just to avoid that. Thus, their work might be sloppy or not creative. One example is the scrabble game in which they compete gain the higher points. At the end, the winner will be who has the highest points in the game. Another personal example is I promise myself to do something in the weekend or get myself something new if I do well in my exams right before that weekend. That sounds funny, but it really motivates me and helps me to get some work done.
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