Thursday, July 14

Do they care yet?

I only recently came across Google Insight - one of their latest experimental tools.

It lets you see how the frequency of searches for your chosen term has changed over time, as a proportion of all searches.

I was quite exercised by this, expecting that "creative thinking" would be making a well-earned resurgence.   So I checked, and I've embedded the graph above.  At time of writing this is anything but the state of play (except in Kenya, where it's at "100%")!

In fact, as a proportion of all searches, "creative thinking" has fallen to around 35% of its 2005 levels.   Similarly, "lateral thinking" has fallen to around 20% of 2004 levels.

"Brainstorming", "thinking skills" and "innovation" have survived little better, at around 40% of their former peaks.

At first glance this seems dispiriting, but it bears more consideration.  It's not that creativity is being displaced by formulaic thinking ("analysis" and "system" are both down to around 20%).

Rather, more of the world is going online, and using the web to manage more and more of their lives.   Workaday terms like "fridge" and "tv" are at their 100% peaks right now.  The web has become the medium of the proletariat, rather than just the borgeois knowledge-worker!   When considered in that light, the robustness of "creative thinking" might be cause for celebration, and in real terms might represent an upturn of interest for creativity in preference to purely analytical thinking.

(Incidentally, if you decide to play around, there's schoolboy fun to be had by trying out terms like "tax" and "wimbledon" which are profoundly seasonal.)


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