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Learning unlocks all doors

Newsletter Issue 36 : Jan 2016

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Organisational Creativity

(Excerpts from an article by Teresa Amabile)

In today's knowledge economy, creativity is more important than ever. But many companies unwittingly employ managerial practices that kill it.

How? By crushing their employees' intrinsic motivation--the strong internal desire to do something based on interests and passions.

Managers don't kill creativity on purpose. Yet in the pursuit of productivity, efficiency, and control--all worthy business imperatives--they undermine creativity.

It doesn't have to be that way. Business imperatives can comfortably coexist with creativity. But managers will have to change their thinking first.

Specifically, managers will need to understand that creativity has three parts: expertise, the ability to think flexibly and imaginatively, and motivation.

Managers can influence the first two, but doing so is costly and slow. It would be far more effective to increase employees' intrinsic motivation. Take challenge as an example: Intrinsic motivation is high when employees feel challenged but not overwhelmed by their work.

The task for managers, therefore, becomes matching people to the right assignments. Managers can make a difference when it comes to employee creativity. The result can be truly innovative companies in which creativity doesn't just survive but actually thrives.