Creativity and Hot Streaks in Work

In creative pursuits, from the artistic to the scientific, “hot streaks” are characterised by bursts of high-impact works clustered together in close succession. Liu and colleagues analysed the career histories of artists, film directors, and scientists, and developed deep learning and network science methods to build high-dimensional representations of their creative outputs. They found that “across all three domains, individuals tend to explore diverse styles or topics before their hot streak, but become notably more focused after the hot streak begins. Crucially, hot streaks appear to be associated with neither exploration nor exploitation behaviour in isolation, but a particular sequence of exploration followed by exploitation, where the transition from exploration to exploitation closely traces the onset of a hot streak.”

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