Our culture worships attention. We assume that, when we’re faced with a really hard problem, the best response is to stay focused, to lavish the dilemma with deliberate thought. And so we order a triple espresso, or chug some Red Bull, or snort some Ritalin. The point of these chemicals is to sharpen the spotlight, to keep us fixated on the task at hand. But is this a good cognitive strategy?
Featured Guest: Shawn Achor, CEO of Aspirant and author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work . Download this podcast SARAH GREEN: Welcome to the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review. I'm Sarah Green. I'm talking today with Shawn Achor, author other of The Happiness Advantage, and CEO of Aspirant, a research and consulting firm that uses positive psychology to improve performance at work.
At a McKinsey alumni webcast on creative strategy last week, the presenters mentioned a book due to be soon published by INSEAD professor Hal Gregersen, Jeffrey Dyer of Brigham Young University and Clayton Christensen of Harvard. The authors have spent six years interviewing thousands of innovative businesspeople and concluded there are five key traits innovators share ( the Innovator's DNA as they call it ). Whenever I hear numbers like "six years" and "thousands of interviews," I grow a bit skeptical. That's usually academic code for "If I think about every conversation I can remember..." But their conclusions suggest some interesting New Year's resolutions for those wishing to make 2011 a more innovative year. 1.