The Quantified Self

On any given day, I walk about 14,000 steps, or 7 miles, and burn 2,650 calories. I walk less when I work from home, by a factor of about 2x. I sleep 7 hours per night, take 14 minutes to fall asleep, and wake up an average of two times per night. I run more than my wife, but less than (many of) my friends.

All of this data comes from an experiment, running about three months now, with carrying a personal fitness tracker by Fitbit. The little device sits in my pocket and records how active I am throughout the day. With it, I know my general level of activity as well as the intensity of specific workouts, and all of this data uploads to an online profile to be shared with a circle of friends. And while the little gadget certainly hasn't revolutionized my life, the ability to be aware of and engaged with my own fitness is pretty appealing.

As it turns out, a lot of people are banking on exactly that idea.


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Happy, Healthy, and Hard at Work

Every election brings with it odes to the "job creators" and long-winded discourses on importance of entrepreneurship, and this one was no different. After all, we know that entrepreneurs create jobs, and that employment figures drive election results. And although it turns out those are both partial truths, it IS true that entrepreneurship is good for the economy. But is entrepreneurship good for entrepreneurs? It's an interesting question that scholars like Chuck Eesley (in my research group) and others are working to unravel. It's been established, for instance, that the financial returns to entrepreneurship are negative relative to more traditional employment. In other words, entrepreneurs would do better to take a job than to create one. At the same time, research also finds that people don't necessarily enter entrepreneurship for the money: concerns such as autonomy and bringing ideas to life tend to top the list. But while being your own boss certainly sounds nice, entrepreneurship also brings a tremendous amount of stress. A common mantra among entrepreneurs is that "there are no weekends", and a coworker once joked to me that "the best way to ruin a marriage is to start a company."

So what's the net impact on entrepreneurs? A recent study by Michael Dahl and colleagues at Denmark's Aalborg University tried one novel way to find out.

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Making Creativity Come True

What does it take to turn a creative idea into reality? It seems like a simple question, but truly creative ideas are tricky critters: they don't fit well with existing ways of doing things, they create conflicts between people, and they can even cause companies to go under. And the worst part is, truly creative ideas usually fail. After all, it's their novelty and uniqueness that make them creative in the first place, so it's no surprise that they don't always work. Companies (and people) famously abhor change for exactly these reasons. Sure, that idea sounds great - why don't YOU try it out and let me know how it goes? So what makes a particular creative idea likely to be implemented, and when are you likely to be able to see your idea turn into reality?

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The Most Creative Game

Or, Why Studying Math Is The Best Thing You Can Do

In the hallway the Academy of Management conference last week I ran into a colleague who mentioned that he’s been following CRTVTY (hurray!). But he was surprised. “You’re a math guy,” he said. “What’s a math guy doing with a blog on creativity?” Well, aside from all of the research linking math to music and art, this brings up an interesting question: can math itself be a creative exercise? 

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