Friday, May 4, 2012

The Power of Q

What's the ideal strategy for group creativity? Brian Uzzi, a sociologist at Northwestern University, developed a measure of the density of connections between group members (Q) reflecting the “social intimacy” of people working together, with higher levesl of Q signaling a greater degree of closeness. He studied the ideal form of creative collaboration for successful Broadway musicals. When Q was low, or less than 1.4, the musicals were much more likely to fail. When the Q was too high (above 3.2) the work also suffered. The best Broadway shows were produced with intermediate levels of social intimacy. A musical produced at the ideal level of Q (2.6) was 2.5 times more likely to be a commercial success.

People have a tendency to want to work only with friends. It feels so much more comfortable. But that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. If you really want to make something great, then you’re going to need to seek out some new people too.”

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