Most of the Western world (and certainly the USA where the author is from) expects and to a certain extent celebrates extroverts – the people that can command a room, can raise their voice above others, that always have a story or a joke to hand. Conversely the large minority of the population who are introverts – the people that would rather go for a drink with a few friends or stay at home than make small talk at a noisy party and care more about thinking about what’s interesting than how loud you can make your voice heard are often dismissed and labelled as boring, anti-social or dull.
Susan Cain (a self-acknowledged introvert) points out that most of the greatest humans in history were introverts.
If you met me at a business event I don’t think you’d immediately label me as an introvert, but I absolutely am. If, like me you prefer to recharge your mental batteries alone rather than at the pub, or have a partner, friend or colleague who does, you should read this book. It challenges myths that about who or what we should be in our own lives. I highly recommend the book, but if you don’t want to read it, please watch her TED Talks which you can access by clicking here.
This blog is about innovation and creativity, and there is a lot of great stuff in here about how to get the best out of introverts. The normal approach to brainstorming is a great example of this. Extroverts love these events – they thrive on being able to verbalise their ideas in a group. The introverts hate them. I’ve witnessed this numerous times – it looks and sounds like the vocal people are making progress and coming up with loads of ideas with others sitting back and listening but in actual fact the extroverts ended up with very little compared to the introverts who sat quietly and formulated ideas in their own time.
I blogged about this as a good reason for not relying on Group brainstorm activities. You can read this blog by clicking here which I hope will help you plan your idea workshops with introverts in mind.