The word is now in, and it sounds definitive: travel not only broadens you; it can make you more creative.
The word comes from a recent article in The Atlantic, summarizing research by an international team of scholars, including Prof. Adam Galinsky of Columbia University Business School. The latest article focuses on the fashion industry, but work by another team including Galinsky, and by more researchers in this field, expands the lens to entrepreneurs and professionals more broadly.
Don’t leap to the conclusion that your next cruise vacation in the Adriatic is going to do the trick for you, though. It seems that the spurs to sustained creativity entail prolonged immersion in other cultures, “biculturalism” rather than mere “assimilation,” and possibly not too many cultures and not stretching across cultures that are too radically different. On my cursory reading, this probably means that my times in the Netherlands and France did my creativity more good than all those years in China. But of course, scientific studies look for patterns. You may be an outlier, and your sojourn in Chiengmai may have made you the artist you now are.
For more information:
- Brent Crane, “For a More Creative Brain, Travel,” The Atlantic, Mar. 31, 2015.
- Frederic C. Godart, William W. Maddux, Andrew V. Shipilov, and Adam D. Galinsky, “Fashion with a Foreign Flair: Professional Experiences Abroad Facilitate the Creative Innovations of Organizations,” American Academy of Management Journal , Vol. 58, no. 1 (Feb. 2015), pp. 195-220.
- Tadmor, C. T., Galinsky, A. D., & Maddux, W. W. (2012, July 23). Getting the Most Out of Living Abroad: Biculturalism and Integrative Complexity as Key Drivers of Creative and Professional Success. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.