Posted by: Liz Massey | May 17, 2012

Surf’s Up, Condensed: Top Creativity Links for May 17, 2012

Photo courtesy SXC.

Study: 75% Think They’re Not Living Up to Creative Potential | AdAge
Tantalizing report on a recent study released by Adobe on the state of global creativity. Based upon surveys conducted in March and April with 5,000 adults in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France and Japan, the study includes such interesting findings as:

  • In the U.S., 52 percent of respondents describe themselves as creative, significantly higher than France, which was 36 percent, and much higher than Japan’s 19 percent.
  • More than half of all the respondents said that the educational system stifles creativity.
  • Respondents reported increasing pressure to be productive rather than creative at work. In the U.S. and U.K., 80% of people felt that way, while the number rose as high as 85% in France.

The entire study is available for download by visiting the Adobe site.

One collaboration-killing mistake you’re probably making | GigaOM
Jessica Stillman reports on research by Tammy Erickson that indicates that collaboration is another area in which structure and limits, not total freedom, provides better creative results. Erickson is quoted as saying:

Our research has shown that… collaboration improves when the roles of individual team members are clearly defined and well understood — in fact, when individuals feel their role is bounded in ways that allow them to do a significant portion of their work independently. Without such clarity, team members are likely to waste energy negotiating roles or protecting turf, rather than focusing on the task.

How Enemies Power Innovation | Fast Company
Interesting article by Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology and Brandwashed, arguing that many of the branding and product innovations of the last several generations were fueled by going to war with one’s competitors.

He laments that this meme seems to be fading:

As I consult with brands across the world, I always ask the executives about their main competitors–in other words, I ask them to name their enemies. They all have at least one. However, when I ask them how “public” their enemy is, the conversation generally stalls. Many executives have become afraid of offending anyone. But the truth is, this is exactly what I think they need to do: offend their enemies.

Not sure I agree with him, but I grew up during the era of the brand wars (Coke-Pepsi, Mac-PC) of which he speaks, so it’s definitely food for thought.

What Children Can Teach Us About Creativity | Lifehack
Vito Michienzi, a certified teacher and professional magician, has created a fun, insightful post that asserts that playfulness is the key to reinvigorating one’s creativity. He explains why being able to play is so crucial to creativity:

Ever watch children play? They’re constantly creating and changing rules for games they invent. And when the rules don’t work, they re-invent them.

For children, a stick could become a magic wand, a sword and a lightsaber all in one afternoon. Kids don’t limit it to just being a stick because someone told them it’s a stick. Heck, they’ll use the stick to make a circle in the dirt and tell you it’s their secret base that you’re not allowed into. Then, five minutes later (when they get bored), you’re suddenly allowed in. They keep adjusting the ‘rules’ of playing until they work.

What Doesn’t Motivate Creativity Can Kill It
Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer, co-authors of The Progress Principle, discuss the power of intrinsic motivation to foster creativity at work, and how managers can balance four “extrinsic” factors – goals, evaluations, rewards and pressure – to help their employees perform their best creative work.

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