Research Highlights - December 2020

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How can you use the findings from the latest research studies to improve your performance and the performance of your organization? We’ll provide the highlights and key ideas you won’t get anywhere else.

The issues facing today’s world are increasingly complex and dynamic. Solving big problems requires people to draw upon and integrate seemingly disparate areas of knowledge, such as the arts and the sciences.  This ability to combine knowledge from diverse fields is critical for generating effective, innovative solutions to tackle local and global problems. A new study published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes found that having a so-called “growth mindset of interest” can spark this type of innovation.

Previously, the researchers established people with a growth mindset of interest believe that interests can be developed and cultivated, while those with a fixed mindset of interest tend to believe that interests are inherent and simply need to be ‘found.’  People with a growth mindset are more open to areas outside of their core, pre-existing interests than people with a fixed mindset.

Building on these findings, the latest research examined how a growth mindset of interest can boost integrative thinking across the traditional disciplinary boundaries of arts and sciences.

The study found that a growth mindset of interest can in fact increase people’s ability to generate ideas that bridge their well-established area of interest (such as the arts) with one outside of it (such as the sciences).  For example, in one task, research participants were instructed to create new college majors by combining two or more existing academic programs at their university.  After coding and analyzing the ideas they generated, the team found that people with growth, as opposed to a fixed, mindset of interest were more likely to bridge programs across the arts and sciences to create new majors.  The analysis also revealed that individuals with a growth mindset generated higher quality integrative ideas.

This research provides a useful direction for organizations whose products and services call for integrated and creative solutions.  Consider smartphones, you not only need...

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