My Experiences in BUS 358: Innovation, Design, and Prototyping

Essay 3

How to Kill Creativity

Theresa Amabile

  • Creativity gets killed more often than it is supported. This isn’t usually on purpose.
  • Originality is not enough. Ideas also need to be appropriate – useful and actionable.
  • You must think imaginatively to be creative, but you also need EXPERTISE and MOTIVATION.
  • Creative thinking is how people approach problems and solutions – put existing ideas 2gether.
  • “Incubation” – ability to set aside problems temporarily, work on something else, and then come back with a fresh perspective. This work style encourages creativity.
  • INTRINSIC MOTIVATION. People will be most creative when they feel motivated by the interest, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself (not by external pressures).
  • Managing creativity
    • SIX things managers can do: Challenge, Freedom, Resources, Work Group Features, Supervisory Encouragement, and Organizational Support.
      • Challenge
        • Match right people w/ right assignments, provide matches that stretch employees’ abilities
      • Freedom
        • Give people autonomy concerning the means – the process – but not the ends
        • Give them freedom to decide how to best climb the mountain
        • Autonomy w/ process fosters creativity b/c heightens intrinsic motivation/sense of ownership
      • Resources
        • 2 main: time and money
          • Time pressure can heighten creativity
          • Resource pressure can force a compromise, but resources above the “threshold of sufficiency” does NOT boost creativity
      • Work Group Features
        • Create mutually supportive groups with a diversity of backgrounds/perspectives
        • Teams must compromise w/ varied foundations and approaches (thinking styles, too) and this combines ideas in exciting and useful ways
        • Members must share excitement around team’s goals
        • Members must display willingness to help each other with difficulties/setbacks
      • Supervisory Encouragement
        • People need to feel that their work matters to the organization or an important group of people in order for their passion/interest to be sustained.
        • Freely and generously recognize creative work by individuals & teams, often.
      • Organizational Support
        • Creativity is enhanced when the entire organization favors/supports it
        • Put in appropriate systems/procedures for emphasizing creativity as a value
        • Mandate information sharing and collaboration; ensure politics don’t fester
  • THREE COMPONENTS of Creativity
    • Expertise, Creative-Thinking Skills, and Motivation
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