In his book Drive, Daniel Pink discusses a number of recent studies that show how people in today’s creative knowledge economy are not necessarily motivated and engaged by traditional methods. In fact, offering rewards for performance (the carrot and the stick), using title and rank to direct people (micro-managing), and lavishing half-hearted recognition can actually be fairly de-motivating.
Instead, people are motivated by their desire to be creative in their work and make a difference. We want to be empowered to find solutions to make their work better. We want to work on something that helps improve the world. We want to solve complex problems that challenge their skills and intellect. It’s the creative nature of our work that can keep individuals excited and energized every day.
However, creativity is not just an individual endeavor. In many situations, the most creative work happens when individuals come together as a team and feed off of each other through collaboration, brainstorming, arguing, and exchange of ideas.
As leaders and managers of creative organizations then, it is our responsibility to create a culture that enables individuals to explore innovative ideas in their work and build an environment where teams can flourish. We need to help employees find meaning and interest in their work and design an environment that encourages sharing and inspiration for ideas.
OK, sounds good, but how? A creative work environment is more than just a ping-pong table in the lounge. Physical environment is important, but there are a multitude of other ways a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship can be infused into various parts of your business.
In a Webinar next week, we’ll discuss the growth of our creative culture at Mad*Pow, detailing some lessons we’ve learned along the way. We’ll outline our approach in general, and then detail some of the specific activities we’ve tried – from the design of our space, to team building activities, to management guidelines, and goal setting. We’ll also dive deep into our recently completed company Design Slam event – a team building design activity that gave Mad*Powians the opportunity to collaborate with folks they don’t normally work with, and spend their energy on interesting design problems with few constraints. Exactly the type of team building and creative exercise we intended.