To be creative it might help if you’re slightly insane, and strangely, financial reward can actually IMPEDE quality and productivity.
There are an amazing number of books and blogs offering advice on how to enhance creativity and improve productivity. Which has always struck me as rather amusing. In my opinion, if you find yourself systematically looking for ways to be creative, well, you probably aren’t. And although reviewing processes and refining or developing skills or knowledge are crucial keys to being productive, the real key to productivity is to (ahem) PRODUCE. Which is something you aren’t doing when you’re spending all day looking for ways to be more productive, right? So what’s the secret to being more creative? I’ve always been of the opinion that the most creative people I’ve known bordered on being case studies from the DSM-IV. And finally, science is backing me up. Yes, creativity is essentially a form of insanity. And frankly, if scientists were more creative, they would have realized this already, like I did. In an analagous fashion, one of the big keys to being productive and creating a successful new market is also akin to insanity, i.e.: Disruptive Innovation. Disruption is something that the creators of Skype understand well; in fact they’re funding more of it as you read this. And regarding productivity? Well, get to work. But if you need to make others get to work, you may find the concepts in this presentation by Dan Pink (also below) surprising. Being self-employed and not raised in the corporate culture, I’ve always found the number of “warm seats” at most larger companies perplexing. We needn’t go into all the theories about 20-70-10 workforces or whatever, it’s a common sense observation that large organizations inevitably end up with lots of moderately well-paid employees that produce very little in relation to their real potential. Pink’s presentation – which is based on information from top-notch academic studies – is an informative and entertaining look at the myth of “greater reward equals greater performance”. It turns out that if you want people to produce, simply paying them more can actually be counterproductive.