Saturday, December 29, 2007

Creativity - Creative Thinking

Amabile, T. M. 1998. How to kill creativity: Keep doing what you're doing. Or, if you want to spark innovation, rethink how you motivate, reward, and assign work to people. Harvard Business Review (September-October): 77- 87.

According to Amabile, “Creativity within each of us is a function of three components: expertise, creative-thinking skills, and motivation.” (p.78)

Definitions of Creativity

Process that results in a novel work that is useful— M. Stein 1953

Production of something new and valuable—R. Rothenberg 1990

Process extended in time, characterized by originality, adaptiveness, and realization—D. MacKinnon 1975


For a slide show on creativity

Amabile, T. M. CREATIVITY IN CONTEXT. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996.

There is consensus that the environment in work is a great influence on creative thinkng of persons involved. The organizational climate should encourage assertion of ideas, not rely on order and tradition, and not make people afraid to fail. Other environmental factors include the following (Amabile 1996; Powell 1994): providing time and resources; developing expertise; giving positive, constructive feedback that is work or task focused; encouraging a spirit of play and experimentation; providing a mix of styles and backgrounds with opportunities for group interaction; making a safe place for risk taking; allowing free choice in task engagement; offering rewards that recognize achievement or enable additional performance but maintain intrinsic motivation rather than controlling behavior. Surveillance and evaluation are detrimental, as are stress and pressure unrelated to the project (Amabile 1996).

Amabile suggests the use of creativity heuristics that guide problem solving and invention: rearranging/juxtaposing elements of a problem; brainstorming--less concern with the validity of an idea than with its value in generating further ideas; making the familiar strange and the strange familiar; and generating hypotheses by using analogies, accounting for exceptions, and investigating paradoxes.

Powell, M. C. "On Creativity and Social Change." JOURNAL OF CREATIVE BEHAVIOR 28, no. 1 (1994): 21-32.


Innovation, as defined as bringing new ideas to market in the form of new product and services - is what generates the ultimate value. Innovation could be thought of as harnessing the creative energy and moving those great new ideas through a defined set of processes to an ultimately valuable conclusion.

I read today an article titled "Managing Innovation" in HRM Review of January 2008.
It is mentioned in the article that creativity refers to contributing novel insights that can generate new opportunities or alternatives for the organization, whereas innovation refers to the implementation of such novel insights.

The article also has discussion on creativity. That lead to me to look at literature related to creativity and innovation and this post.

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