Amabile’s creativity myths

While developing Five Sketches™, I was asking questions about how best to support developers who also need to design. Where do good ideas come from? What environment lets creativity grow? And the big worry: is the Five-Sketches™ method enough to stimulate creativity and lower the barriers to creativity?

©2007 Fast CompanyHarvard Business School’s Teresa Amabile devotes her entire research program to the study of creativity and business innovation. Fast Company magazine (Dev 2007) reports that, by gathering and analysing 12,000 daily journal entries from 238 people working on creative business projects “in the wild,” Amabile and her team became academic myth busters who disproved these long-held beliefs about innovation in the workplace:

  1. Creativity comes from creative types. A myth!
  2. Money is a creativity motivator. Another myth!
  3. Time pressure fuels creativity. It’s a myth!
  4. Fear forces breakthroughs. Also a myth!
  5. Competition beats collaboration. Another myth!
  6. A streamlined organization is a creative organization. A myth!

I was especially pleased to read about the first of Amabile’s myths, because I’ve seen analytical and logical types produce inspired designs while engaging in a supportive, friendly, facilitated-design process.

Want to know more about these six myths? Read the Teresa Amabile interview in Fast Company magazine, online.