How Diversity Sparks Creativity

Despite the fact that people with diverse social networks score higher on creativity metrics, we mostly prefer homogeneity, sticking close to people like us when we attend social events.

What's the Latest Development?


New research shows that while we may praise diversity with our words, our actions tell another story. The larger the group of people we form a part ofa running club, a college campus, an office, etc.the more likely we are to stick by others who we judge as being similar to ourselves. Researchers have found this to be the case at executive mixers where, after expressing a desire to meet new people from new industries, businesspeople most often socialize with members of their same field.

What's the Big Idea?

College campuses, ideally bastions of diversity, also fall prey to our preference for homogeneity. Students at American universities with large, diverse populations are less likely to form friendships with people from different backgrounds than those who attend small, somewhat rural colleges. Studies have shown that people with diverse social networks score three times higher on metrics that measure innovation, "suggesting that the ability to access 'non-redundant information from peers' is a crucial source of new ideas."

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think Edge
  • In some fundamental ways, humans haven't changed all that much since the days when we were sitting around communal fires, telling tales.
  • Although we don't always recognize them as such, stories, symbols, and rituals still have tremendous, primal power to move us and shape our lives.
  • This is no less true in the workplace than it is in our personal lives.

Has a black hole made of sound confirmed Hawking radiation?

One of Stephen Hawking's predictions seems to have been borne out in a man-made "black hole".

Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Surprising Science
  • Stephen Hawking predicted virtual particles splitting in two from the gravitational pull of black holes.
  • Black holes, he also said, would eventually evaporate due to the absorption of negatively charged virtual particles.
  • A scientist has built a black hole analogue based on sound instead of light.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think Edge
  • The word "creative" is sometimes waved around like a badge of honor. We speak of creativity in hushed tones, as the special province of the "talented". In reality, the creative process is messy, open, and vulnerable.
  • For this reason, creativity is often at its best in a group setting like brainstorming. But in order to work, the group creative process needs to be led by someone who understands it.
  • This sense of deep trust—that no idea is too silly, that every creative impulse is worth voicing and considering—is essential to producing great work.