The importance of right-brain, holistic, creative thinking is increasingly being recognized by large-scale businesses. Google, for example, expanding on an idea originally implemented by 3M in the 1950’s, gives it’s employees one work day a week to work on anything that personally interests them outside of their main job. This is the so-called twenty percent time. Some of Google’s best applications such as Gmail, Google Reader, Google News and many others came out of this work schedule and the general attitude it engenders. (This approach at 3M with its “fifteen percent time” allegedly led to Masking Tape and Post-Its.)
Relaxed, spontaneous creativity is the hall mark of right-brain thinking and it’s ability to access our subconscious minds at very deep levels. This is why activities like long walks and similar ventures can lead to brain-storming breakthroughs. It’s almost like a deliberate lack of mental organization allows the subconscious thoughts to erupt to the surface. (More on this in Hare Brain Tortoise Mind: How Intelligence Increases When You Think Less by Guy Claxton.)
To the extent that right-brain “peak performance” is stimulated by non-goal directed, spontaneous activity, it should be nourished and cultivated by our educational system in a big way. This could make a big difference in our ability to manufacture and sell new types of goods and services.
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