My Mom Was Right

My Mom Was Right

My Mom always said that the best parties are the ones where people do not already know each other. If they are all “office people” they will talk about the office; if they are all parents of 5th graders they will talk about the happenings in the 5th grade.

I went to a lecture this week by Jonah Lehrer whose book Imagine just hit #1 on the NY Times Non-Fiction Bestseller List. The lecture was titled “Creativity and the Brain: What is it, who has it and how do we achieve it?”

I would not have guessed that Jonah shares a view (and has the data to back it up) that is very similar to my Mom when she is planning a party!

And the view is this…an entrepreneur with a wider social network is more likely to be successful. As Jonah put it, don’t only hang out with people like you. Hang out with engineers and gardeners and artists and scientists and kindergarten teachers. He shared that now he is that annoying person on a plane who will talk to you when you have your nose in a book or are writing a presentation.

Jonah and my Mom posit that the formula for success, whether it be an entrepreneurial venture or a dinner party is a wide variety of people whose stories and experiences enrich the venture, whatever it may be.

What is the lesson here for research tools and techniques, particularly those that are exploratory in nature? Maybe we go beyond “customers and prospects.” What can we learn from non-users? Optimization Group will be pondering this as we plan both projects and parties…

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