It’s long been understood that with creativity comes a propensity to break rules, but can the act of breaking rules stimulate creativity? Yes, say Francesca Gino and Scott Wiltermuth, whose paper on the subject was published in February’s Psychological Science. Acting dishonestly, they found, leaves people feeling “less constrained by rules,” and therefore better able to think outside the box.
“We’re not at all saying, ‘Let your employees behave unethically,'” Wiltermuth explains. “But if you can establish rules that people are likely to break without harming others, it can also have this mitigating consequence of making people uninhibited and therefore more creative. That could obviously be a benefit to your company.”