Success factor "creativity"
"All innovation begins with creative ideas. Successful implementation of new programs, new product introductions, or new services depends on a person or a team having a good idea – and developing that idea beyond its initial state."
Quote: Amabile, T. M., Conti, R., Coon, H., Lazenby, J., & Herron, M. (1996). Assessing the work environment for creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 39(5), 1154.
"Creativity" is a creative process. Hence it is often associated with artistic work, which is just subarea of creativity.
Creativity at office work means the ability to newly combine existing knowledge and practical experience to develop new ideas, products and so on.
Teresa M. Amabile, professor of "Business Administration" at the Harvard Business School, names three essential requirements for the development of creativity:
It includes every kind of knowledge (education, experience etc.) as well as technical and intellectual abilities.
- Ability to think creatively
Which means the ability to flexibly approach new problems as well as to bypass creative lean periods.
It is primarily referred to the "intrinsic" (inner) motivation to solve problems.
An important role regarding the three requirements for creativity plays the intrinsic motivation. A strong interest in solving problems can at least partly compensate missing expertise, as highly motivated persons are willing and capable to obtain missing knowledge of team members or other external knowledge sources.
Sources: "How to Kill Creativity", Teresa M. Amabile in Harvard Business Review, September-October 1998 and PD Dr. Jürgen Glaser, Dr. Britta Herbig. Presentation "Kreativität und Gesundheit im Arbeitsprozess – Kreativitätsförderliche Arbeitsgestaltung" at the office conference (New Work Culture) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) on 9th June 09 in Cologne.
Measures to promote creativity
Glaser and Herbig distinguish between content-related and formal measure to promote creativity.
A significant impact on the creativity of employees have the content-related creativity dimensions, such as:
- autonomy (in terms of work content, workplace, working time)
- diversity of challenges (complexity and novelty)
- creative challenges (awareness, that creative thinking is desired) and
- holism (of the working task)
Formal aspects of the work structure can strengthen the content-related dimensions by visualizing and bringing them to life and by supporting communication processes, e.g. in form of:
- mission statements and management philosophy
- interior design
- labour time models
- labour type
The best results can be achieved if content-related and formal creativity dimensions are synchronized.
Source: PD Dr. Jürgen Glaser, Dr. Britta Herbig. Presentation "Kreativität und Gesundheit im Arbeitsprozess – Kreativitätsförderliche Arbeitsgestaltung" at the office conference (New Work Culture) of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) on 9th June 09 in Cologne.
Creativity and knowledge work
The different facets of the correlation between creativity and knowledge work can be demonstrated by the three indicators of knowledge work (according to the definition of knowledge work of the Fraunhofer IAO):
- Novelty and complexity (= diversity of challenges) of tasks are inspiring as well as the content-related, time-related and spatial autonomy (see measures to promote creativity).
- Simultaneously do innovative (and complex) tasks demand more creativity than routine jobs.
Knowledge work without creativity is impossible.