Fast Company points to Teresa Amabile, from the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at HBS, whose research focus on creativity; sadly for the advocates of death marches and non-compensated overtime, her study suggests that creativity, and by extension, economic life, comes from working on a safe environment, with proper rewards and certainty.
In particular, the piece on FC centers on six myths of creativity, arguing that the following actually hinder the creative process: money, time pressure, fear, competition, downsizing, and the belief that only a few are creatively gifted.
This runs contrary to all our beautiful corporate credos, that by the most part stimulate by fear and pain, run employees against one another through brutal office politics, bring in “star employees” instead of relying in the collective knowledge of the company, and continuously demoralize their working force by subjecting them to the uncertainty of sudden layoffs and incredibly rigid hierarchical structure.
As a result, a corporation that is so rigid and devoid of creative thinking soon becomes a dealer of commodities, since products and services that are not unique become immediately undistinguishable from those of the competition. Hence, their price plummets and the company becomes a target for competitors for overseas and the like.
OK, this is extremely oversimplifying, but choke on this: IBM redraw itself as a provider of services, high aggregated value items that only IBM can provide, and stopping its PC arm: it is not about selling bread, but by providing the service, the unique experience that differentiates and provides an ample margin that allows the company to thrive amidst heavy competition and uncertain economic times.
While looking about this article, I found this blog, with six important concepts to take in to account, and that may foster the creative process. Funny that Amabile’s ideas travel in groups of six.