Monday, 22 October 2012

Love Conquers all, Creativity is the only Weapon by Tomisin Ajiboye

WHEN I CONSIDER all the organizations I have studied and worked with over the past few years, there can be no doubt: creativity gets killed much more often than it gets supported. For the most part, this isn't because managers have a vendetta against creativity. On the contrary, most believe in the value of new and useful ideas. However, creativity is undermined unintentionally every day in work environments that were established-for entirely good reasons-to maximize business imperatives such as coordination, productivity, and control. Managers cannot be expected to ignore business imperatives, of course. But in working toward these imperatives, they may be inadvertently designing organizations that systematically crush creativity. My research shows that it is possible to develop the best of both worlds: organizations in which business imperatives are attended to and creativity flourishes. Building such organizations, however, requires us to understand precisely what kinds of managerial practices foster creativity-and which kill it.

There are only two possible ways to this approach on how to motivate or maintain creativity in others. To understand the differences between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, imagine a business problem as a maze.

One person might be motivated to make it through the maze as quickly and safely as possible in order to get a tangible reward, such as money-the same way a mouse would rush through for a piece of cheese. This person would look for the simplest, most straightforward path and then take it. In fact, if he is in a real rush to get that reward, he might just take the most beaten path and solve the problem exactly as it has been solved before.

That approach, based on extrinsic motivation, will indeed get him out of the maze. But the solution that arises from the process is likely to be unimaginative. It won't provide new insights about the nature of the problem or reveal new ways of looking at it. The rote solution probably won't move the business forward.

Another person might have a different approach to the maze. She might actually find the process of wandering around the different paths - the challenge and exploration itself – fun and intriguing. No doubt, this journey will take longer and include mistakes, because any maze - any truly complex problem - has many more dead ends than exits. But when the intrinsically motivated person finally does find a way out of the maze - a solution - it will very likely be more interesting than the rote algorithm. It will be more creative.

There is abundant evidence of strong intrinsic motivation in the stories of widely recognized creative people. When asked what makes the difference between creative people and those who are less creative, the Nobel-prizewinning physicist Arthur Schawlow said, "The labor-of-love aspect is important. The most successful creative people often are not the most talented, but the ones who are just impelled by curiosity. They've got to know what the answer is." Albert Einstein talked about intrinsic motivation as "the enjoyment of seeing and searching."

The novelist John Irving, in discussing the very long hours be put into his writing, said, "The unspoken factor is love. The reason I can work so hard at my writing is that it's not work for me." And Michael Jordan, perhaps the most creative basketball player ever, had a "love of the game" clause inserted into his contract; be insisted that be he free to play pick-up basketball games any time he wished. Creative people are rarely superstars like Michael Jordan. Indeed, most of the creative work done in the business world today gets done by people whose names will never be recorded in history books. They are people with expertise, good creative-thinking skills, and high levels of intrinsic motivation. And just as important, they work in organizations where managers consciously build environments that support these characteristics instead of destroying them.

If you love and be curious about your talent or purpose, it is certain no man can take away creative-thinking process from you. Love conquers all while creativity is the weapon used.

Follow on Twitter - @tomisinajiboye


  1. This got me.. Nice piece mr creativity..

  2. Ope, the last two sentences got me more............

  3. Thumb up Sir..!!!
    Grt write up........