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How to Inspire Creativity at Work

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According to Harvard's Teresa Amabile, author of The
Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity
at Work, there are three key components to creativity at work:  expertise, creative thinking skills, and motivation.
Amabile's research further produced six things that companies and managers can
do to support and inspire
creative work
.
1) Challenge
It's all about assigning the right person to the right
project ' but most companies don't bother to get to know their employees well
enough to do that. Of all the things managers can do to stimulate creativity,
perhaps the most efficacious is the simple task of matching people with the
right assignments. Managers can match people with jobs that play to their
skills in creative thinking, and ignite motivation.
2) Freedom
When it comes to granting freedom, the key to creativity is
giving people autonomy concerning the means'that is, concerning process'but not
necessarily the ends. Basically, people will be more creative if you give them
freedom to decide how to climb a particular mountain. In fact, clearly
specified strategic goals often enhance people's creativity.
3) Resources
Organizations often kill creativity with fake deadlines or
impossibly tight ones. The former create distrust and the latter cause burnout.
In either case, people feel over controlled and unfulfilled'which invariably
damages motivation. Moreover, creativity often takes time'They keep resources
tight, which pushes people to channel their creativity into finding additional
resources, not in actually developing new products.
4) Work-Group
Features
Companies kill creativity by encouraging homogenous teams. These
groups do find solutions more quickly and have high morale'but their lack of
diversity doesn't lead to much creativity. If you want to build teams that come
up with creative ideas, you must pay attention to the design of such teams.
That is, you must create mutually supportive groups with a diversity of perspectives
and backgrounds because when teams comprise people with various intellectual
foundations and approaches to work.
5) Supervisory
Encouragement
Support by bosses isn't just nice, it's essential to
creativity. Certainly, people can find their work interesting or exciting
without a cheering section'for some period of time. But to sustain such
passion, most people need to feel as if their work matters to the organization
or to some important group of people.
6) Organizational
Support
Companies that mandate collaboration while discouraging
politics will see creativity thrive. Most important, an organization's leaders
can support creativity by mandating information sharing and by ensuring that
political problems do not fester. Information sharing and collaboration support
all three components of creativity' That sense of mutual purpose and excitement
so central to intrinsic motivation invariably lessens when people are cliquish with
one another.

Amanda Ciccatelli,
Social Media Strategist at IIR USA in New York City, has a background in
digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business
strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology
Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and
feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached
at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

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