Monday, March 26, 2012


Dear Susan Cain,

     Your article on the new "Groupthink"really captivated me. This is true as you related it to many of the collaborative practices that occur in everyone's lives now a days in modern society. In fact, the educational system as you mentioned prides itself on educating upcoming individuals the importance of effectively collaborating in a group. At least that is what the general consensus seems to indicate. Your article on the other hand goes against this and suggests that perhaps working a group environment is not the most ideal solution to solving problems. It may not even be the best solution for general creativity in a variety of different matters. You argue that the dynamics of people working together can be counter productive to whatever tasks are trying to be completed at hand. The fact that there are others around you can potentially make you more reliant on these people to complete the work. Likewise, this mentality can have the effect of making you agree with the other members of the team in an effort to expedite what ever task is at hand. This can also occur with the active knowledge that the decision you are agreeing with may not actually be correct or fully suited to whatever is trying to be accomplished. Like many other people, I thought that collaboration would be the best solution to forming creative ideas. However your brief descriptions have really convinced me other wise.
     Clay Shirky, the author of "Here Comes Everybody" makes a different argument for collaboration stating that it can be beneficial. However, the studies conducted in that article dealt with a much larger scale, namely that of the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. However, there is an important coorrelation that I noticed which I believe supports your position on the effectiveness of collaboration. Within the article there is mention that a majority of the work done on topics on the site is performed by a small handful of people. This seems to mimic the scenario of a small group session where some members may be riding on the efforts of the more active individuals. Therefore, even if they have something insightful to contribute, they may be less inclined to do so. I believe for this reason your position on the matter is indeed valid. Another author, Andrew Keen, discusses how the power of web 2.0 may in fact work to hinder creativity. Web 2.0, essentially the two way flow of information, can be seen as the ultimate collaboration tool. However, the exposure to the various forms of media can become an issue, especially with the quantity that is available.With so much user generated content filling the web, true creativity can become masked. I believe a person can be influenced by an idea that has already been released into the web. In this instance, working alone may allow a person to really demonstrate their true creativity, or work towards a solution that will not be influenced by another persons. For all of these reasons, I do see truth to your argument Susan Cain.

Jonathan Thai

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