>Brainstorming a waste of time
A new report based on a survey of 20,000 creatives from 197 countries suggests that, a majority of these professionals - including writers, musicians, photographers, and podcasters - find that brainstorming is largely unhelpful for solving a creative challenge.
The survey, commissioned by the Dutch file-sharing company WeTransfer, attests to the perils of this form of groupthink.
"In the creative world we hear an awful lot about collaboration, but it seems that while working together is essential to bring an idea to life, it's not that good for shaping ideas in the first place," notes Rob Alderson, WeTransfer's recently departed editor in chief.
WeTransfer's survey suggests that dutiful meetings are a primary creativity killer.
More than 40% of respondents now consider "work" - including the administrative tasks required of employees in big corporations - as a barrier to good thinking.
"Send people off with the time and space to think properly and the quality of their ideas will probably improve," Alderson says.
>Global economic inequality
The world's richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people, according to Oxfam, a UK-based charity, underlining that "economic inequality is out of control."
In an annual report published by Oxfam, the charity called the world's economy "a tale of two extremes," showing the number of billionaires has doubled in the last decade.
In 2019, the world's 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60% of the planet's population.
The 22 richest men have more wealth than all the women in Africa.
Taxing an additional 0.5% of the wealth of the richest 1% over the next 10 years is equal to investments needed to create 117 million jobs in education, health and elderly care and other sectors.
The charity urged governments to "build a human economy that is feminist and values what truly matters to society, rather than fueling an endless pursuit of profit and wealth."
>More cases of viral pneumonia
Chinese health authorities announced Wednesday that 440 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) had been reported in the country by the end of Tuesday. The cases had resulted in nine deaths, said Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, at a news conference.
Li also said that the coronavirus is transmitted via the respiratory tract and there "is the possibility of viral mutation and further spread of the disease."
Experts suggested Wuhan residents remain in the city.
Another expert at the press conference dismissed the rumor of the existence of a super-spreader in the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus. "There's no evidence to support the idea there are already super-spreaders," said Gao Fu, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "But we will keep monitoring the situation."
>IMF lowers growth forecasts
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released an updated World Economic Outlook report on Monday in Davos, Switzerland.
The IMF said in the report that the global economy would grow by an estimated 3.3% in 2020, down from a previous forecast of 3.4%. It also lowered the 2021 forecast by 0.2 percentage points, to 3.4%.
Gita Gopinath, the IMF's chief economist, said that some risks mentioned in October's report have since partially receded with the announcement of a US-China phase one trade deal, the lower likelihood of a no-deal Brexit and the fact that monetary policy has continued to support growth and buoyant financial conditions.
China's growth has been revised upward from October by 0.2 percentage point to 6% for 2020 due to the recent US-China trade breakthrough.
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