Friday, October 13, 2006

Promoting Creativity in the Workplace, and the University

Many of the issues surrounding higher education interest me. Most can be categorized under a broader topic of "Creativity."

I want to uderstand the creative:

  • How might one promote creativity in the workplace, as well as the classroom (which is simply a different type of workplace)?

  • What can one do to be more creative in one's own professional field?

  • How far does the promotion of creativity reach? For example, if one makes creativity a priority (as an employer, as an employee, as a teacher, student, etc.) what other changes occur?

  • The first piece is "The 6 Myths of Creativity" by Bill Breen, published in the December 2004 issue of Fast Company

    "These days, there's hardly a mission statement that doesn't herald it, or a CEO who doesn't laud it. And yet despite all of the attention that business creativity has won over the past few years, maddeningly little is known about day-to-day innovation in the workplace. Where do breakthrough ideas come from? What kind of work environment allows them to flourish? What can leaders do to sustain the stimulants to creativity -- and break through the barriers?" --(Read More)

    The second article is "What Do We Know About Enhancing Creativity and Innovation? A Review of Literature" by Eleanor D. Glor, published in The Innovation Journal

    "Theresa Amabile (1988) identified the factors that promoted problem solving or personal creativity by studying a group of 120 innovators working in research and development. Although one factor, qualities of the group, assisted creativity, other group factors were not shown to do so. Personal characteristics were related to creativity, including specific personality traits, self motivation, special cognitive abilities, a risk orientation, diverse experience, expertise in the area, social skill, brilliance and naiveté (pp. 128-129). The qualities of problem solvers that inhibited creativity, on the other hand, were lack of motivation (30%), unskilled (24%), inflexible (22%), externally motivated (14%), and socially unskilled (7%) (p. 129). Individual creativity was enhanced, in other words, by domain relevant skills, creativity-relevant skills and intrinsic task motivation.

    While individual factors and initiative were important to creativity, social environments also made a difference. Environments that encouraged creativity for these innovators exhibited freedom (74%), good project management (65%), and sufficient resources (52%). A half to a third of the innovators identified the need for encouragement (47%), specific organizational characteristics (42%), recognition (35%) and sufficient time (33%), whereas only 22% identified the need for challenge (22%) and pressure (12%). They felt that organizations required "a mechanism for considering new ideas, a corporate climate marked by co-operation and collaboration across levels and divisions, and an atmosphere where innovation is prized and failure is not fatal" (p. 147).
    " --(Read More)

    1 comment:

    Deb S. said...

    Dan, you're on a roll. You're an excellent writer, and your site is a great resource. I love this post. It's so nice to have you in the blogosphere. :-)