Weak Ties and Creativity

Changing Learning and Working

Have you heard about the theory of “strength of weak ties” ? Weak ties are those people with whom you interact rarely. Your acquaintances and colleagues you only talk once a while. Their strengths come from exactly this limited interaction. As you don’t interact often with them, chances are high that they know things you don’t. It is your weak ties that can give you creative input.

That’s the theory, but what does practice say about weak ties and creativity?

Jill Perry-Smith has tested this theory in her paper Social Network Ties Beyond Nonredundancy. But she has taken it one step further. Creative ideas have two origins: First, creativity can be the result of getting access to information that is new to you and which you combine with your existing knowledge in a novel way. Second, creative ideas can arise if you are stimulated by a new perspective to…

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