There is a lot of buzz around creativity now. Business school have MBA concentrations on it. This may seem strange to many who think creativity just happens. Not true creativity requires nurturing and care. It is easy to squelch. And it is done all the time. It is squelched most often because it is not understood. Like so many things that are not well known there are several myths that surround creativity. Here are 6.
- Only certain people or types of people are creativity. This is absolutely untrue. We are most likely to think there certain jobs attract creativity types and certain jobs do not. Jobs like product development, marketing and advertising have creative people while accounting does not. The reality is, nearly all of the research in this area agrees, anyone with normal intelligence is capable of doing creative work. Creativity depends on things like: experience, knowledge and technical skills; and intrinsic motivation i.e. people who are excited by their work are often creative.
- Money Motivates Creativity. Experiments show that bonuses and pay for performance can actually have a negative impact on creativity. The reason is that when people believe that ever move they make is being watched and will impact their paycheck they be more risk averse. But money can be a de-motivater. If people feel they are not being fairly compensated they will also have reduced creativity. Again the research indicates that people put far more value on an environment were creativity is supported, valued and recognized.
- Time Pressure Increase Creativity. Often people will say they are more creative when they are under pressure. The research indicates just the opposite. They only think they are more creative. They are not. In fact the research indicates not only are they not more creative while under the time pressure. Creativity is reduced for the next two days.
- Fears Force Breakthroughs Again the research indicate that the emotional state we are in effects our creativity. In fact it can often be a predictor. If someone is happy, joyful, feeling loved etc. The next day they will be more creative. If that person feels anxiety, sadness, anger, etc. The next day they will be less creative.
- Competition Enhances Creativity. It is widely held that competition between 2 of more teams will produce more creative results. The facts are that it is collaboration not competition that increase creativity. Once the competition begins information is no longer shared. And without the sharing of information ideas are not debated and refined.
- Streamlining or Right Sizing Forces the Organization to be Creativity. There are some concrete reasons why creativity is reduced. Line of communication between organizations have be severed and need to be rebuilt. Teams have been destroyed. And need to be regenerated. But there are also the less tangible areas. When people feel fear they are less creativity and less productive. The worse of all situation is knowing the cuts are coming but not knowing how each individual is effected prolongs the anxiety.
The research sited here was conducted in 2004 by Teresa Amabile at Harvard Business School