Magazine article Management Today

Wise Words: Think Again - Trashing Creativity

Magazine article Management Today

Wise Words: Think Again - Trashing Creativity

Article excerpt

Most companies pretend to care about creativity - it's written on their websites, next to 'diversity' and 'CSR'. The reality, however, is rather different. Managers prefer to hire dutiful and boring people rather than creatives, who are often moody, unpredictable and problematic. It is a risk-averse strategy that ends up destroying organisations: hiring nice people who are easy to manage and easily engaged is the most effective way of suppressing innovation.

All innovation is based on change and, unless you are in a crisis - when you are forced to do things differently - change demands the disruption of rules and processes. It is now fashionable to praise change-agents and game-changers, but most managers are too scared to promote an entrepreneurial mindset in their organisation. They see innovators as crazy risk-takers but only because they are too cowardly themselves. And it is easy to understand why: innovation leads to growth, but growth inhibits innovation - the last thing you want to do when things are going well is change; this is why in big organisations it is impossible to get anything done ...

Fortunately, it is hard to completely kill off creativity. Whenever someone suppresses it, it emerges somewhere else or in another, indomitable way. For example, when European employment laws discourage entrepreneurial individuals from starting a business in France or Germany, they do it in Silicon Valley. When US immigration laws restrict work opportunities for migrants, they go to Singapore or Hong Kong. …

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