Managing for creativity [Harvard Business Review]

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Over many years, the leaders of SAS Institute have distilled a set of principles for getting peak performance from creative people. Among them: Value the work over the tools, reward excellence with challenges, and minimize hassles.

A company’s most important asset isn’t raw materials, transportation systems, or political influence. It’s creative capital—simply put, an arsenal of creative thinkers whose ideas can be turned into valuable products and services. Creative employees pioneer new technologies, birth new industries, and power economic growth.

class=”body”Professionals whose primary responsibilities include innovating, designing, and problem solving—the creative class—make up a third of the U.S. workforce and take home nearly half of all wages and salaries. If you want your company to succeed, these are the people you entrust it to. That much is certain.

What’s less certain is how to manage for maximum creativity. How do you increase efficiency, improve quality, and raise productivity, all while accommodating for the complex and chaotic nature of the creative process?

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  1. So now the “creative class” includes salespeople and programmers? I guess we’re just down to thinking that since the word “creative” is based on “create,” if you create anything you’re a member of that class. That means that pretty much anyone who works could be a member of that class: production line automatons, insurance adjusters (they create “value” afterall!!), and muffler installers. Hence another opportunity to see that all humans are not created equal in terms of skills, abilities, and brains goes out the window.

    “Creativity” implies innovation, thinking outside the box (to use an overworked, but apt term), and attempting things that the “robot class” wouldn’t even consider. The programmers I work with every day are code-bound, rule-bound, and culture-bound and the last people in my company to break out of standard ways of thinking and doing. I won’t even get into the myopia of the “sales class.”

    A tiny percentage of people in any given organization are truly creative, innovative, forward-thinking, tradition/rule/culture-skeptical, and capable of creating things beyond the rest of humanity’s limited imaginations. They innovate IN SPITE of all the mediocrity (and related silly corporate strategies) surrounding them.

    When Harvard Business School, any large company (ESPECIALLY a large, wealthy software company), or the “average class” in any form decides to explain how to manage ANYONE, you can be sure they couldn’t care less about humans and their individuality, but only about productivity toward fattening the bottom line.

  2. Managing for creativity

    I think the ”Creative Class” is THE buzzword of 2005. Now Harvard is teaching that the only thing that matters is creativity. I agree that we have to be creative if we want to discover new ways of working, new

  3. Managing for creativity

    I think the ”Creative Class” is THE buzzword of 2005. Now Harvard is teaching that the only thing that matters is creativity. I agree that we have to be creative if we want to discover new ways of working, new