The power of introversion: Must you be outgoing to be creative?

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Do the best creative ideas come from outgoing people, asks a digital analytics lead at Bartle Bogle Hegarty London

Let’s start with a game of "Who am I?"

I am told to speak up;

More often;

With more authority.

I am encouraged to

Communicate with immediacy

Work in groups;

And to network.

Yet I think more than I speak;

I am considered rather than immediate.

I seek solitude.

And I hate small talk.

Who am I?

I’m Albert Einstein, I’m Barack Obama, I’m Mark Zuckerberg.

I’m me.

I’m an introvert.

I am part of the 30% of the nation who are.

I haven’t picked introversion to validate talking about myself for the next 300 words.


I’ve chosen this because of the intrinsic link between introversion and creativity. The kind of creativity that creates difference. At scale.

The kind of creativity that is the holy grail for today’s marketers.

Yet marketing is an industry renowned for attracting extroverts — and our environment has adjusted accordingly.

Collaboration, brainstorms and public speaking.

These words, and variations of them, fill me with fear.

I turn quickly from a vaguely intelligent and considered individual into a vacuous mute.

These now commonplace processes and functions are founded on extrovert norms.

Extroverts are galvanised by other people, by external stimuli; they are each other's catalysts — but these approaches are less effective than applying introvert "norms" to idea generation.

They also increase both social anxiety and peer pressure.

I therefore become more likely to agree with an idea I don’t necessarily believe in.

However, these approaches still prevail.

I find irony in the idea that we are trying to create difference but adopt processes that promote homogeneity.

There is an opportunity to disrupt this — to encourage a dialogue between extraverts and introverts.

Greater difference will come from quiet than it will from noise.

This opportunity is not just internal, it extends to how we best engage with introverts through our comms.

Introverts overindex on having higher incomes.

Audi is marketing to them — consciously or otherwise.

But these people have defining traits that impact how and where we talk to them; they are fiercely private — an important consideration as comms become increasingly personalized.

Do I have all the answers to how this would work?


But I do know that "Neither E = mc2 nor Paradise Lost was dashed off by a party animal."

So how about I start by turning the tables?

By asking you to:

Speak more quietly

And less often.

To work alone

Be more considered

And cut out the small talk.

Try it.

I dare you.

Saskia Jones is digital analytics lead at BBH London.

This article first appeared on


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