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Monday, December 13, 2004


More Myths of Creativity

In the December issue of Fast Company, there's a thought-provoking article on Teresa Amabile who has researched and compiled six myths about creativity in the modern organization. From experience, she's dead on with most of these myths.

Her third myth, "Time Pressure Fuels Creativity", points to what I think is a more systemic problem plaguing not only work, but life as well. We allow ourselves to be busy for no other reason than it offers status. We own "busyness" like a badge of honor. Why? Perhaps its because if we slow down, we might actually have time to reflect on who we are and where our life is heading. In this case, the actual act of reflection isn't the terrifying's what we fear we'll find as a result. Consider this recent essay in Harper's Magazine by Mark Slouka which extols the virtues of idleness. He talks about the slow disintegration of a democratically-literate society, but could easily be addressing the same disintegration of a soulful, conscious individual.

I would also like to add a seventh myth: Creativity Can Be Managed. Many organizations love their streamlined processes, their rational objectives, their linear methodologies for execution. But creativity thrives on chaos. It thrives on those mysterious connections that only come from improvisation and sudden inspiration. The very thought that the creative process can be controlled and managed is an illusion. The faster an organization gives up this idea, the faster they will encourage groundbreaking, world-changing results.

Categories: c.Careers; c.Creativity; c.Organizations; c.Play

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