Jennifer Mueller, an Associate Professor at the University of San Diego, earned her PhD in Social and Developmental Psychology at Brandeis University, and has had the fortune of being on the faculty of many top business schools including the Wharton School, Yale School of Management and NYU’s Stern School of Business. When she started her research career she was a research assistant at Harvard Business School, working for the wonderful Teresa Amabile on a large, longitudinal dataset which included daily diary entries for over 230 employees in around 26 project teams and 7 companies.
Jennifer’s early attempts at trying to trap the bias against creativity in the wild failed miserably – people uniformly said they loved creativity. One day, while attending a research seminar on racial bias, she had an insight. What if, just as people can have a positive authentic regard for a given social group, but also hold implicit and unacknowledged negative feelings towards this same group, people could have an outward authentic love for creativity but hide their hate towards it.
After this insight, Jennifer published the paper, “The Bias Against Creativity,” which went viral and was downloaded over 65,000 times—receiving more than 100 media mentions and being described as a “famous study” in The Atlantic.
Jennifer’s book Creative Change reveals the answer to the question of why people desire but reject creativity- an answer that she believe challenges the basic assumptions about how we recognize creative ideas, creative leaders, and the very fabric of how we structure organizations for innovation.