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Creativity Under Siege

From Harvard Business Review, via Business Week magazine, blogger Teresa Amabile outlines the factors that keep creativity and innovation flowing.  Not surprisingly, her formula turns out to be pretty simple: the right people working in the right environment.

Says the article:
"We all wince at the thought of how Xerox utterly failed to innovate on PARC's inventions, allowing Apple and Microsoft to run away with most of them. But there's no denying how world-changing those inventions were. The organization that gave birth to them illustrates—by way of contrast—why so many of today's organizations are creatively sterile.

What made PARC so different from organizations where creativity falters? An abundance of all three key ingredients:
  • Smart people who think diferently.
  • Passionate engagement.
  • A creative atmosphere."
Amabile concludes by asking whether, 40 years after the birth of PARC, workplaces have gotten better at fostering that sort of brilliance?  For all the talk and the volumes of writing about innovation, I fear the answer is 'no.'

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