A new study shows that the constant muting and freezing and therefore the fear of a colleague doing something unexpected on-screen during Zoom meetings stifles creativity.
Zoom Makes People Less Creative
According to lab experiments and a field study at a firm with offices worldwide, meeting face to face produced more ideas and concepts that were more creative than videoconference discussions. While the advantages of Zoom and other videoconferencing tools made them indispensable within the pandemic, the study suggests that heavy reliance on the technology comes at a price to creativity, in keeping with The Guardian.
Dr Melanie Brucks, a professor of promotion at a university in NY, said that it’s important to own multiple creative ideas to draw from. Having a bigger pot of creative ideas will help increase your probability of success.
How Videoconferencing Became an element of Lack of Creativity
Brucks and her colleague, Jonathan Levav at Stanford, began their investigation before the pandemic when managers reported having trouble innovating with remote workers. Brucks was sceptical that videoconferencing was an element, suspecting that difficulties coordinating large teams online may be the matter instead. one of the factors that they’ve already considered is Zoom fatigue. In order to search out, the researchers recruited over 600 volunteers who were paired up to tackle a creativity task either together within the same room or through Zoom, consistent with Telegraph UK.
The pairs only had five minutes to develop creative uses for a Frisbee or bubble wrap, and they were only given a moment to decide on their best idea. Independent judges ruled that turning a Frisbee into a plate was less creative compared to using it to knock fruit from a tree while using bubble wrap to send code messages was more innovative compared to using it to shield a baby. Overall, those that worked over Zoom only had 20% fewer ideas than those that met face to face.
The same effect is seen within the universe. in an exceeding field study, the researchers analyzed ideas for brand new product producers by 1,490 engineers for a multinational company.
The engineers from Finland, Hungary, India, Israel, and Portugal, were randomly paired up and given only an hour to brainstorm products either in the flesh or over Webex video conferencing. They then selected their best idea. Brucks said that they’re not only generating a bigger number of creative ideas, but their best idea may be a lot better. Virtual teams were even as good at selecting the simplest ideas from a bunch as people who met head to head.
Things can easily go awry, though. For the sphere study, the engineers were at their best when brainstorming within the office. But the Polish arm of the corporation held its idea-generating session in an exceedingly hotel, resulting in rampant non-compliance, driven by a notable preoccupation with the hotel catering’s coffee and cookie station.
Other experiments within the lab revealed a connection between greater creativity and the way many people looked around the room and noticed props. Bruck suspects that on Zoom calls, people are focused on the screen and therefore the person’s face rather than what was being said.