As we grow older, we take cues from our environment and become serious and rigid, conforming to the norms and rules imposed upon us.
Our social environment, especially our workplace can affect our creativity, as we lose our freedom and playfulness, not able to conjure up new ideas or do any innovative thinking.
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In the 70s, creativity was thought of as a trait, something a few geniuses have, and the rest of us do not.
New studies show that ‘extrinsic’ motivators, factors outside ourselves, can influence our creativity. Competition, evaluation, level of strictness along with rewards and punishment play a huge factor in a person’s overall creative levels.
Knowledge that someone will check, evaluate and grade one’s work, surveillance, a promise of a reward, threat of a punishment, creative constraints, competition and motivating factors like power, money and fame can kill creativity.
Rewards generally provide the individual with a feeling of being controlled, but can also enhance creativity in some cases.
Intellectual challenges, alone with sufficient resources and freedom to experiment are the ideal ingredients of a creative workplace.
Managers should encourage innovative thinking and be trusting, and supportive towards the team, while being receptive to new ideas. Clear, honest communication, along with clarity of goals fosters a free flow of ideas, important for high creativity.
Managers need to pay attention to the needs of the subordinates to make progress in the core work, while providing them sufficient resources and time, and encouraging them to learn from failure.
Organizations can save a lot of time and money by fostering creativity instead of waiting to hire that elusive creative person.
Money as a tool for motivation is limiting at best, and the 'carrot and stick' approach many managers use to motivate employees is will actually achieve the opposite effect of what was intended.
Intrinsic motivation is the desire to do something for its own sake. With intrinsic motivation, we enjoy the action as its own reward, and we do it without taking money, fortune, or fame into account.
Goals should have intrinsic motivation, something that stokes our fire from within.
If people choose goals that are pleasant, the work gets done. On the other hand, if the external reward is big enough, people do unpleasant tasks as well, but not with enthusiasm. Example: Working only for the monthly wage (the extrinsic motivation) turns many people into ‘wage slaves’ who put in the minimum effort necessary to earn their income.