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Creativity Comments by Winston J. Brill, Ph.D.

11/02 Creativity Comment

Credit for Creativity

Most companies claim they value creativity.  Some even provide evidence; for instance, by recognizing people who have made creative contributions.  Recognition includes certificates, bonuses or just acknowledgement in front of peers.  Shouldn’t this recognition help to stimulate creativity throughout the organization?

It should—if the right people get the rewards.

But, too commonly, the right people aren’t rewarded.  Their supervisors, or their colleagues receive that recognition.  Sometimes no one is singled out; instead, the entire team reaps the rewards for a single person’s great idea.  Often, political undercurrents—rather than searching for the actual creative person—governs those who receive rewards.  The people who choose awardees usually aren’t aware of these undercurrents, and feel that the correct people are being recognized.

This situation has two major consequences:

1)  Group politics become even more important; more important than helping the organization.

2)  The person who actually had the key idea (that others’ were rewarded for) is less likely to contribute further ideas.

If the right people aren’t being rewarded for creativity, the organization is far less likely to obtain many more great ideas, the kind that drive innovation.  So, if you value creativity, be sure to do some investigating to assure you recognize individuals who have made significant creative contributions.  

©2006 Winston J. Brill & Associates. All rights reserved.