Recovery Periods are an Essential Component of Entrepreneurial Creativity
Entrepreneurial creativity is often seen as an inherent trait that only certain people have, but a recent study found that creativity fluctuates more often for the same person over time than between different people. Researchers Eva Weinberger, Dominika Wach, Ute Stephan, and Jürgen Wegge studied the patterns of 62 entrepreneurs over a period of twelve days to understand how creativity fluctuates and revealed several interesting findings.
- There is more variation in day-to-day creativity for the same entrepreneur than there is between different entrepreneurs.
The study found that about 77 percent of the variation in creativity observed took place on different days for the same people, while only 23 percent of the variation was attributed to differences between entrepreneurs. This suggests that creativity is less of an inherent trait and more of a condition that entrepreneurs may be able to control.
- Recovery periods and high-quality sleep are critical for creative potential.
The researchers found that recovery periods, in which mental and psychological states are fully recuperated after a day of strenuous work, are critical for creative potential. These recovery periods materialized in two forms: nighttime sleep and time spent pondering work-related problems in low-stress settings. The authors measured sleep quality using actigraphy, a reliable instrument of monitoring sleep patterns. Entrepreneurs who got higher quality sleep showed higher levels of creativity on the subsequent day.
- Entrepreneurs who reflect on how to solve problems outside of working hours tend to generate more novel ideas.
The second form of recovery may seem counter-intuitive, given the commonly held belief that it is necessary to switch off mentally to fully recover. However, the authors found that reflecting on work problems in a low-stress setting after work hours can actually boost creative processes. This also has interesting implications for older entrepreneurs. The authors found that older entrepreneurs were more likely to switch off mentally from work-related thoughts in their leisure time, which in turn reduced their creativity when addressing these problems.
The research of Weinberger, Wach, Stephan, and Wegge illuminates important findings about entrepreneurial creativity. The authors stress that entrepreneurs are capable of improving their own creativity levels by learning to incorporate effective recovery processes in their daily lives.
The full report can be found here.
Contributed by Ariadne Xenopolous and Maha AbdelAzim.