The three things that kill creativity
The business world is in need of more creativity and innovation but we are suffering from a lack of freedom to put people in to a mindset and environment that helps creativity to thrive.
Here are three things that kill creativity and innovation that we can control today.
1. Having money – Money actually stifles creativity, it defines our thinking and brings a level of safety and ease to the solution. When a client gives you a budget to do something, human nature and learned behaviours will drive your biases to know roughly what the solution is before even thinking. Necessity is the mother of invention, if there is no necessity, there will be no invention. We need to remove things from people, limit the factors of ease and safety, make it hard, make people think.
Solution: Remove the budget from your teams/agencies until later in the process, force them to think without the constraints of spending cash.
2. Unnatural incentives – The business world is full of unnatural and personal incentives that drive us to do things for the wrong reasons. Sales targets and business growth targets that run over each quarter or even annually, personal bonuses that drive us to think about ourselves rather then the brand or business. These time based incentives make us do things that are fundamentally against the success of business and in most cases against the success of our careers. Creativity and innovation is then altered to meet the wrong goal and drive the wrong outcomes.
Solution: Give incentives to people and partners on the long term objective, remove the time limits and reward doing the right thing, rather than the enforced thing.
3. Driving to work – We all need to experience the environment that we are trying to be creative in, to experience the people we are trying to innovate for. Too many people (especially in Sydney), drive from home to the office, from one bubble to the next. For years I have walked to work, used public transport, got on the train, changed my route every few days, just to experience the world and how it changes. You learn to watch people, to respond to changes in their actions, to start questioning their behaviours. It hones your ability to think, to react and to understand human nature.
Solution: Walk, take the bus, get on the train, change one day a week, change 5 days a week. Look, listen, observe, note, record, question.