Manging Creativity

Creativity is the cornerstone of progress amongst organization. Traditionally thought of as a product of the executives’ minds, but it should be perceived as a company wide exercise and necessity. Employees can be trained and encouraged to exercise said creativity according to Col. Bernard Banks, in a post saying “ The goal is not to teach them what to think, but to enhance their ability to think critically and creatively about the myriad of contingencies posed by a fluid environment — in essence to teach them how to think.”

Management can create creative organizations by considering the following factors:

  1. Creating an environment suitable for creativity to flourish, this includes employing people suitable to work under such conditions. In her study on the factors influencing creativity and productivity Christina Shalley suggested “three conditions in particular as important for creative behavior at work: ability, intrinsic motivation, and certain cognitive activities”(Shalley, 1995). Ability is dependent on the employee’s extent of knowledge required to carry out a given task or solve a situation. Intrinsic motivation implies that the employee must be genuinely interested in their field of work. Meanwhile, cognitive activity refers to certain activities a person can perform in order to gather an extended amount of knowledge on the environment surrounding a given task.
  2.  Decreasing the pressure to be creative. There is a common belief amongst people, that time constraints and constant pressure helps them be creative. Further, working under constant pressure may drive people to work more and harder on a given task, but it limits their ability to think about environmental factors which are not directly related to a given situation. Upon taken under consideration, these factors can lead to a more suitable/better solution (Amabille, 2008).
  3. Give time off work. An interesting view presented by Stefan Sagmeister at TED.com is the concept of taking an extended sabbatical leave from work every few years, especially in highly creative jobs such as design.  This allows the employees to free themselves from a streamlined thought process and groupthink. (Sagmeister, 2009)

Such concepts provide a better way to encourage and establish a creative enviornment amongst an organization, which can lead to better and more sustainable solution to the same old problems.

References:

SHALLEY, C. E. (1995). EFFECTS OF COACTION, EXPECTED EVALUATION, AND GOAL SETTING ON CREATIVITY AND PRODUCTIVITY. Academy Of Management Journal, 38(2), 483-503. doi:10.2307/256689

BANKS, B. (2010). How Companies Can Develop Critical Thinkers and Creative Leaders. Harvard Business Review. http://blogs.hbr.org/frontline-leadership/2010/10/how-companies-can-develop-crit.html

Sagmeister. S. (2009). The Power of Time Off: Stefan Sagmeister on TED.com. TED blog. http://blog.ted.com/2009/10/02/the_power_of_ti/

Amabille. T, Khaire.M. (2008). Creativity and the Role of the Leader. Harvard Business Review. http://hbr.org/2008/10/creativity-and-the-role-of-the-leader/ar/1

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One thought on “Manging Creativity

  1. Your post presents some really good ideas. Many companies pride themselves on creative solutions, and it is important to foster creativity to continue giving good solutions.

    DDB, an international marketing agency, is always on the hunt for creativity – they thrive it! Infact, their value proposition which can be found at http://www.ddbcanada.com/#/WhoWeAre is, “If there’s one thing that separates DDB Canada from its agency competitors, it’s our ability to deliver big, game changing creative ideas and business results year after year (after year).”

    While some people are naturally creative thinkers, it is interesting to read your post and think about what methods companies like DDB use to foster creativity and deliver results regularly.

    -A

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