Pack Your Suitcase to Boost Creativity, Study Suggests

Last Updated Apr 27, 2009 7:53 AM EDT

The Takeaway: Hemingway went to Paris, Gauguin to Tahiti, but can the prescription for creativity that has worked for artists for centuries also work for those in the field of business? New research from William Maddux, a professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, and Adam Galinsky, a professor at the Kellogg School, says yes. Using a classic test of creativity and another test involving a mock negotiation, the professors found that those business students who had spent more time abroad, performed with more creativity than their less globe trotting classmates. Galinsky explains:
This shows us that there is some sort of psychological transformation that needs to occur when people are living in a foreign country in order to enhance creativity. This may happen when people work to adapt themselves to a new culture.
While Maddox offers some conclusions of his own:
Knowing that experiences abroad are critical for creative output makes study abroad programs and job assignments in other countries that much more important, especially for people and companies that put a premium on creativity and innovation to stay competitive.
Those interested in more complete information on the study can read more in the May issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

(Image of travel documents by autumn_bliss, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.