Part 1 of this series examined Corporate Killers of Creativity. The "killers" are managers who impede or destroy creativity and innovation throughout an organization, but most especially in creative functions such as marketing, advertising, public relations and product design.
Assailants of creativity fail to understand the innovative and creative personality. To get the best from creative people, it is important to know the "hot buttons" that stimulate and distinguish creativity.
The first distinguishing characteristic is independence. Creative people -- product designers, writers, art directors, illustrators, composers -- highly value independence. They resist discipline. They bridle at traditional constraints. For the boss or client trying to obtain superior creativity, it's important to recognize and accept the intensity of this need for independence.
A strong sense of curiosity is another creative characteristic. Many creative people never stop the childlike exploring that most people give up in their teens. They need to challenge their intelligence. They need to search for explanations. They need to discover for themselves.
Curiosity is coupled with openness to new ideas. Creative people nurture new ideas. They don't rush to judge that an ugly thing just poking out of the ground is a weed. They are willing to give it time to blossom.
#4. Tolerate Ambiguity
The most creative people tolerate ambiguity. They prefer to deal with unstructured problems, problems that do not necessarily have one right answer. They rarely are dogmatic and narrow-minded. They consciously examine different perspectives on every problem. Nobel laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi once said: "Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else-and thinking something different." That's a fairly good definition of creativity.
#5. Willingness to Take Risks
Thinking something different implies a willingness to take risks. Creative people usually want to do things differently. They test the limits. They treasure innovation, originality, and novelty.
#6. Heightened Aesthetic Judgment
Creative people have a heightened aesthetic judgment. They seem to have an exceptional sense of form and beauty. Generally, successful creative people are also self-motivated. An internal engine propels them to do extraordinary work.
#7. Think Visually
Creative people think visually; they use imagery.
Because creativity isn't easy, they also are persistent. They usually have high self-esteem - a quality many bosses have difficulty dealing with. This is often true even when they are not successful.
#9. Fragile Ego
At the same time, the creative person is likely to have a fragile ego. Because they see their work as an extension of themselves, they are quite sensitive about their creative efforts. When you attack their work, you attack them.
If you think about the truly creative people you know - or creative geniuses such as Steve Jobs, Walt Disney or David Ogilvy -- you'll find that they exhibit most all of these characteristics.
Wise managers embrace and nurture these attributes.
Approaches to management of creative individuals, teams and vendors is the subject of Part III in this series.