Join Drew Boyd for an in-depth discussion in this video The principle of reciprocity, part of Managing Team Creativity.
A fast way to boost your creative output, is to harness the brain power of others. Creativity is a team sport, an you'll generate better ideas if you surround yourself with colleagues, who are willing to help you with your creative projects. But why should your colleagues help you? Let me introduce you to the principle of reciprocity. It states that people give back to those in the form they've received from others. It's a social rule that every human society teaches its members. You give back to those who have given to you.
But the key to reciprocity is this. You have to make the first move. You have to develop a reputation at work as someone who helps others, even if that other person hasn't helped you. There are many ways you can help your colleagues at work. You can give them information. You can give them feedback about their projects. You can give them the benefit of your time You could just be empathetic to their needs. The key is though helping others even if they haven't first helped you. When you help someone do it in a way that their going to really appreciate it.
For example, imagine that you are online and you find an article that one of your colleagues would like. Now you can send them an email with a link to that article. But what if you did this instead? What if you printed out the article, perhaps highlight key relevant points, maybe even wrote a small note in the margin, and instead of sending that article through company mail, you hand deliver it to your colleague. Now that is quite a favor. And according to the principle of reciprocity, that colleague will feel an even stronger sense of obligation to help you with your creativity projects.
I like to call this the golden rule of creativity. Practice it and everyone around you will feel an obligation to help you in return.