What Doesn’t Motivate Creativity Can Kill It – via Harvard Business Review

We’re adding tools to our toolbox this week to enhance the creative capacity of individuals and organizations.

In promoting a creative environment, Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer of Harvard argue there is a balance to be achieved between the open mode necessary for creativity (to borrow from John Cleese) and the closed mode we need to put those creative ideas into action and results.

One sure-fire way to kill innovation is to rely on carrot and stick motivators.

Motivating others to do creative work involves a delicate balancing act of goals, rewards, evaluation and pressure that promote intrinsic rewards, a sense of purpose, the freedom to fail, and a clear idea of the problem being solved.

“In the end, it’s level, form, and meaning of the motivator that makes for that perfect balance. Being told to do a tough job in a particular way, with no tolerance of failure, little expectation of recognition for success, and extreme, arbitrary time pressure, can kill anyone’s creativity motivation. But being given the same job, in a positive atmosphere where false starts are examined constructively and success is recognized, can drive creativity — and innovation — forward.”

What Doesn’t Motivate Creativity Can Kill It – Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer – Harvard Business Review.

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