• 12.01.04

Getting Creative

How do you build a creative work environment? Here is Harvard professor Teresa Amabile’s four-part plan for leaders, coupled with journal excerpts from her pioneering study of creativity “in the wild.”

When time pressure is high, clear out the distractions “At the end of the day today, it hit me as to how creative Katherine and I had been together when we worked away from the telephones, noise, and interruptions. I felt very satisfied with the work we produced.”


React to problems with understanding and help “The team decided to postpone our next review; my software was simply too far behind. Lionel [the team leader] was visibly frustrated by the missed deadline but very supportive once the decision was made.”

Celebrate a good performance in public “In a team meeting, Gene [the team leader] recognized me for work that I did — this felt good and is a motivating factor for me.”

When times are tough, keep team members informed “Jake called to pass along news of a pending organizational change that was much more positive than most of the rumors. I appreciated his call from vacation to let me know of this glimmer of bright light in the sea of uncertainty.”