Creativity requires divergent thinking and convergent thinking, two distinct modes that imply different behaviors — and space requirements.

When I hear coworkers say, “I’m flaring,” I know they are in experimental mode. They’re brainstorming and looking for a variety of alternatives. Someone who is flaring seeks a large number of inputs since the goal isn’t to find the single best idea as much as to look widely for possibilities no matter how far-fetched.

Conversely, if a colleague says, “I’m focusing,” she has already winnowed the set of possibilities to specific solutions and is looking for critical input. At this point, she doesn’t need more ideas but rather to assess the viability of the ones at hand. …

Simple rituals have become more significant recently as we’ve moved from physical meeting rooms to the virtual ones during the pandemic. In absence of being able to clearly read the “room” (i.e. people’s body language, face mimicry that depicts emotion) or to pick up on various other non-explicit cues we get from face-to-face physical interactions, having a common language for sharing daily “how are you’s” is a critical step to the overall individual and team health.

Have you noticed that “How are you doing?” is often used as a greeting instead of a question we expect an answer to? It’s…

Olga Trusova (Dotter)

VP of Innovation, CSAA IG, a AAA insurer, Stanford alum

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