More Better Ideas When I’m Alone

Why Leaders and Innovators Need Solitude to Do Good Work

Forty years of research on brainstorming shows that individuals produce more and better ideas than groups do. Studies also suggest that the path to excellence in many fields is not only to practice, but to practice alone. And creativity researchers have found that many highly creative people were shy and solitary in high school, and recall their adolescence with horror. (I explain all this in detail in my forthcoming book, QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.)

This is one of many reasons that introverts — who are more likely than others to carve out solitary time — are often very creative, and make unexpectedly fine leaders.

While a different idea, this brings to mind having one decision maker on on a project versus design-by-committee. As anyone who’s been on a project (design or otherwise) knows, when there isn’t a go-to person and everyone’s voice has to be heard and incorporated into the product, that product inevitably ends up a watered-down mess. Barely competent at many things, great at nothing.