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I had the chance to attend Susan Cain's keynote last Wednesday at The ARF's Re:Think 2014 event. I really wanted to attend this presentation as soon as I saw it in the program. Why? Mainly because Susan Cain got almost 8 million views for her TED talk, but also because I am an introvert myself and thought I might get some useful tips.
With introverts making up roughly a third to a half of the population, Susan reflects on how we came to living in a world that favors extroverted activity such as group work in schools and offices. She says we weren't always this way, but when big business started booming in the 20th century, a shift occurred and historians started calling this the Culture of Personality.
Overall, she shared some great observations about introverts, like how they are relatively quiet during meetings because they need time before coming up with an idea they want to share aloud. I definitely agree with Susan that "solitude is a crucial ingredient, often, to creativity," however, it doesn't mean that we should stop collaborating all together. And, even though most of her talk focused on employees in the workplace, it got me thinking about the ways in which the market research industry has dealt with co-creation. Focus groups are definitely better suited towards extroverts, but what about the other half of the population? Introverts need time to process information before they share and if we're really trying to get the most out of everyone, I would think that the best way to foster collaboration is to do so in an online forum because they are asynchronous. Susan notes that some studies have shown that, "individuals who brainstorm by themselves produce more ideas and better ideas than groups," and this introvert definitely agrees!
If you haven't seen her TED talk, I strongly recommend you watch it below.