13 Ways Companies Kill Creativity » Vivid Resources (2022)

Creativity is the driving force behind many new products, services, and companies around the world, creating solutions to age-old problems and offering new ways to live our daily lives. Yet despite the indispensable nature of innovation, many businesses don’t exactly foster creativity in the workplace, sometimes even actively working against it. Whether they realize it or not, there are many ways that businesses kill creativity on a daily basis, which isn’t just bad for those creative minds but also the organization as a whole. So what can be done? The first step is learning what big innovation-crushing mistakes are being made so that changes can be made. We’ve listed a few of the most common on our list here, a must-read for anyone in a management or supervisory position.

  1. Playing it safe

    Rejecting ideas out of hand because they are different than the way you’ve done things before might seem logical but when you think about it, it becomes immediately clear that this is pretty much antithetical to any goal of creative or innovative thinking. True creativity is about taking risks, breaking new ground, and coming up with things that are new and novel, not just more of the same. If you limit employees to only working within existing bounds, then you’re creating a pretty poor environment for creativity.

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  2. Restricting freedom

    While employees need some structure and guidance in order to flourish and be truly creative, restricting freedom is one way to kill the creative spirit pretty quickly. One common way this happens is by making it clear to employees that new methods of doing things aren’t welcome or by forcing them to work within unnecessarily narrow confines to reach their goals. Understand that there are many ways to reach a desired result and give employees some free reign to be inventive on their own terms.

  3. Rationing time and resources

    Creativity can flourish in the most spartan of situations, it’s true, but generally, it takes time and money to make that happen on command. Asking employees to work with little to no resources and within an unrealistically short time frame might sound like a budget-conscious company’s dream, but it’s sure to burn out employees very quickly and leave them resenting you, hating their jobs, and fresh out of new ideas. Allowing employees both enough time and enough resources to do their jobs effectively is essential for fostering a creative environment.

  4. Micro-managing

    Trying to control anything and everything on a given project down to the last detail isn’t going to help creativity one bit. In fact, it’s sure to drive off the best creative talent leaving you with those who are less capable and who probably need a whole lot more supervision. Micro-management breeds frustration, wastes time, and ultimately kills morale as employees feel that you don’t trust them to get their jobs done right and on time. Step back and provide consistent guidance if you really want to foster a creative environment in the workplace.

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  5. Limiting group diversity

    People who are alike generally get along well, but that’s not always a great thing when it comes to creativity. It also means that they may be thinking many of the same things and won’t have disagreements that will push and challenge members of the group to do something exceptional. Teams should be made up of people with differing skills, abilities, viewpoints, and even backgrounds so that they can bring a number of different approaches to the table when trying to solve a problem. These kinds of groups may not work as seamlessly but their work will likely make up for it.

  6. Putting people in the wrong jobs

    Just because it’s most convenient to have a certain person do a job doesn’t always mean that’s the right fit. Role mismatch is one key way companies can put a damper on creativity, giving assignments, projects, or even entire jobs to people who aren’t matched in their abilities with the tasks they’re being asked to complete. Ideally, an employee should feel as though they’re being challenged but that a given job is within their capabilities to complete on time and at a high quality. If those terms aren’t met, creativity suffers and so does the company.

  7. Providing no feedback

    It’s hard to know if you’re getting the results the company wants if you’re not provided with any feedback, and it’s likely to make you more hesitant and unsure in your future work as well. Companies and managers need to let their creative employees know when something is a success or when something could be better, as feedback is an essential part of the creative process. Without it, employees will start to feel lost, unappreciated, and perhaps even a little confused about the goals of the company and what their role is in achieving those goals.

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  1. Demanding immediate returns

    Creativity takes time and often won’t offer an immediate and obvious payout to the company, even if the idea is a good one. Demanding creative people not only come up with good ideas but showcase exactly how and when they’ll benefit the company is unreasonable, and will make most reluctant to share their thoughts. Not every idea has to be a goldmine to be good or useful to an organization, a fact that’s important for any manager to remember.

  2. Forcing all employees to work the same way

    We all think differently and use different methods to come up with ideas, so why should all employees have to work the same? Some might have their best ideas in the morning; others might like to stay in the office long after everyone has left. If employees are getting the job done on time, not disturbing coworkers, and producing good work, there’s no reason to dictate the way they get to that end goal.

  3. Shooting down ideas immediately

    Some of the best ideas in history were pretty crazy at the outset and many others just needed time to be refined. When companies dismiss ideas right out of the gate with comments like “it’ll never work” managers stifle creativity and create an atmosphere where fear of rejection reigns supreme. In that kind of environment, employees simply don’t feel comfortable speaking up or sharing new and creative ideas. They’ll stick to what they see as safe and what’s less likely to get them reprimanded for daring to think outside the box.

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  4. Providing no support

    Even good ideas don’t always work out and employees shouldn’t be punished for their creativity, even if a given idea fails. The quickest way to destroy creativity is to rub these kinds of failures in the faces of employees, and to remind them of mistakes on future projects. If you want to keep creativity high, stand up for employees, don’t tolerate gossip or infighting, don’t take sides or play favorites, and provide a supportive, open environment for employees to work in.

  5. Not listening

    How many times have people come up with amazing ideas that were brushed off or rejected by people who just didn’t want to listen to new ideas or already had a solution in mind? Sadly, it’s not at all uncommon and many of those great ideas were taken elsewhere with great success. Don’t drive creative people away from your company, even if their idea requires changes to the current modus operandi of your business. If you don’t listen, you’ll never get the kind of feedback you need to keep the company on top and people will just learn to go along with whatever you want because it’s too much trouble to do otherwise.

  6. Giving employees no incentive

    Incentives don’t always have to be monetary. Sometimes, employees just want to know they’ve done a good job and played a pivotal role in a team. Of course, more concrete forms of reward never hurt either, and can help boost morale and give employees a sense that they have a true investment in the future of the company. Employees who feel a vested interest in a company and see their own interests as being intertwined with the interests of the company are much more likely to turn out high quality work. Environments that lack these kinds of incentives will kill motivation, passion, and ultimately creativity as employees have no reason to really work hard.

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FAQs

How do companies kill creativity? ›

By contrast, managers who kill creativity do so either by failing to acknowledge innovative efforts or by greeting them with skepticism. In many companies, for instance, new ideas are met not with open minds but with time-consuming layers of evaluation—or even with harsh criticism.

Which of the following is a sure way to kill creativity? ›

6 Ways to Kill Creativity
  • Role mismatch. One of the easiest ways of killing creativity is by giving a job to the wrong person. ...
  • Restrict freedom. Yes, people need specific goals set for them, but they also need freedom in how to achieve these goals. ...
  • Ration resources. ...
  • Reduce group diversity. ...
  • No encouragement. ...
  • No support.
26 Jul 2011

What are the 3 components of creativity? ›

Amabile's componential model of creativity (Amabile, 1983, 1988) consists of three components—domain-relevant skills, creativity-relevant skills, and task motivation—that are all essential for creative performance.

How do you destroy creativity and innovation? ›

Want to make sure you never come up with a great idea? Here are 21 suggestions to help you kill your creativity.
  1. Always think the way you've always thought. ...
  2. Be focused. ...
  3. Always do what you've always done. ...
  4. Don't embarrass yourself. ...
  5. Know your limitations. ...
  6. Be skeptical. ...
  7. Always listen to the experts.

What are the 5 components of creativity? ›

Guilford (1959) identified five key elements of creativity: fluency, flexibility, originality, awareness, and drive. Understanding these elements removes some of the mystery surrounding creativity and paves the way for encouraging its growth.

Which is the number one killer of creativity in anything that you do? ›

Your ego is the biggest killer of creativity. The struggle tends to become an issue for people in the middle and later years of their career.

What are the 4 components of creativity? ›

Paul Torrance's work in Creativity. Torrance, the “Father of Creativity” talked about four elements to creativity: Fluency (# of ideas), Flexibility (variety of ideas), Originality (uniqueness of ideas), and Elaboration (details of ideas).

What are the types of creativity? ›

There are 4 types of creativity: deliberate, cognitive; deliberate, emotional; spontaneous, cognitive; and spontaneous, emotional (Dietrich 2004).

What are the factors affecting creativity? ›

Creativity can be based on some factors such as learning, experience, motivation, imagination, intelligence, flexibility and personality. These factors may affect human creativity and most of the creative acts are unexpected.

What are the 3 barriers to creativity? ›

Here are three big barriers to creativity in organizations and some non-obvious ideas on how to overcome them:
  • Fear of experimentation. Human beings are hardwired to avoid ambiguity. ...
  • Chasing perfection. ...
  • Stereotyping.
29 Aug 2017

What can discourage ones creativity power? ›

So stop the bad habits that are destroying your creativity.
...
If you recognize them in your life, cut them out now.
  • Premature judgment. ...
  • Lack of courage. ...
  • Avoidance of failure. ...
  • Comparing yourself with others. ...
  • Discomfort with uncertainty. ...
  • Taking criticism personally. ...
  • Lack of confidence. ...
  • Analysis paralysis.
20 May 2016

What prevents creative thinking? ›

Rigid Thinking

Among significant barriers to creative thinking is rigidity or having a fixed mindset. Preconceived ideas impair the ability to think in an unconventional way or come up with out-of-the-box solutions. Another problem that can arise is when we start to think about the idea in terms of its source.

Do Dead Lines destroy creativity? ›

Conclusion. Creativity needs time, it is impossible to put out creative ideas when put on a time limit. The constant reminder of deadlines makes it difficult to think freely and experiment with new ideas. This in turn limits creativity, as people start looking for quicker ways to finish tasks.

Does competition destroy creativity? ›

Yes, competition kills creativity if it's a destructive, winner-takes-all form of competition; if ideas are hoarded so that their owner gets sole credit; if communication stops because others are viewed as “the enemy”. But the most innovative companies, in fact, foster a form of collaborative competition.

Do deadlines destroy creativity quotes? ›

No – Deadlines motivate us to be creative:

If we get used to being creative, we will be creative even if we have deadlines. Thinking and implementing creative ideas can become a habit. With no deadline, we'll have plenty of time, so we may also think about why the idea won't work, the possibility of failure.

What is Big C in creativity? ›

Big C is the sort of creativity reflected in world-changing achievements, like artistic masterpieces or scientific breakthroughs. The works of Picasso, the breakthroughs of Einstein and the stories of Terry Pratchett could all be seen as examples of that Big C.

What are the 2 main components of creativity? ›

Creativity is sometimes broken up into divergent thinking and convergent thinking; though I argue that essentially the same processes are involved in both. Divergent thinking is measured using the Torrance test of creative thinking (TTCT).

What is the most important element of creativity? ›

The first and the foremost element of creativity is willingness to do something new. No one can teach or force you to become creative. An artist sees various shapes and colours even in a crumpled ball of paper thrown in the dustbin.

How can employees improve creativity? ›

Here are several steps to increase creativity within the workplace:
  1. Establish a clear mission and vision. ...
  2. Communicate the company's goals. ...
  3. Hire the right people. ...
  4. Implement flexible work hours. ...
  5. Provide space for critical thinking. ...
  6. Adapt creative-thinking techniques. ...
  7. Act on good ideas. ...
  8. Reward creativity.

Why is thinking creatively difficult? ›

'Clever' people often find it difficult to think creatively. This may be because they have got into a habit of believing that they are right, perhaps because in the past they have been able to come up with the 'correct' answer readily.

How do you measure creativity in the workplace? ›

Measuring four dimensions of Creativity in the Workplace
  1. Fluency: how many responses a person, team or process can generate.
  2. Flexibility: how many different types/categories of responses are generated.
  3. Originality: how different are the responses from the norm.
  4. Elaboration: how detailed are the responses.

What are the six components of the creative process? ›

The six components of creativity – and how to make your organisation an innovation engine. Knowledge, imagination, attitude, resources, habitat, and culture are the key factors for entrepreneurial success.

What are the key features of creativity? ›

In conclusion we can say that if we want to run a creative activity in the classroom, we need to check for the presence of these four features: imagination, purpose, originality and value, and organise the process in a way that all these can be incorporated.

How do we measure creativity? ›

A psychologist administers the test, which takes 90 minutes. The final score is called a creativity quotient, or CQ. While IQs score reflect the recall of facts (or finding the one right answer to each question) CQ scores reflect the ability to come up with innovative, original, and novel thoughts, ideas, and images.

What are creative thinking techniques? ›

Some of the best examples of creative thinking skills may include: lateral-thinking, visual reading, out-of-the-box thinking, copywriting, artistic creativity, problem-solving, analytical mind, and divergent thinking. Here are the best creative thinking techniques you can use.

Can creativity be killed? ›

The truth is that everyone has a potential for creativity, only most decide that it's not worth to use it in their daily lives. This is when they develop habits which gradually kill every bit of creativity they've got left. You're just not free enough in your thoughts and don't let yourself use the creativity gift.

Does competition destroy creativity? ›

Yes, competition kills creativity if it's a destructive, winner-takes-all form of competition; if ideas are hoarded so that their owner gets sole credit; if communication stops because others are viewed as “the enemy”. But the most innovative companies, in fact, foster a form of collaborative competition.

Do deadlines destroy creativity? ›

Creativity needs time, it is impossible to put out creative ideas when put on a time limit. The constant reminder of deadlines makes it difficult to think freely and experiment with new ideas. This in turn limits creativity, as people start looking for quicker ways to finish tasks. This also lowers the quality of work.

How do you kill innovation? ›

5 Surefire Ways to Kill Your Company's Innovation
  1. Don't make innovation a top priority and an “all-hands” job requirement. ...
  2. Don't give people the training they need to innovate. ...
  3. Don't give people the time to innovate. ...
  4. Don't give people a place to innovate. ...
  5. Don't take risks to innovate.
16 Nov 2018

What are some creativity killers? ›

5 Common Creativity Killers
  • Role Mismatch. ...
  • External End-Goal Restriction. ...
  • Strict Ration of Resources. ...
  • Lack of Social Diversity. ...
  • Discouragement/No Positive Feedback.
13 Aug 2014

What is the biggest killer of innovation? ›

Top 5 Innovation Killers
  1. People. Sometimes it's an individual; sometimes it's a group. ...
  2. Politics. You can usually get around one or two individuals who try to block your idea, but it's more challenging when the organization is rife with politics. ...
  3. Organizational design. ...
  4. Company values. ...
  5. Corporate culture.
2 Mar 2015

Which is the number one killer of creativity in anything that you do? ›

Your ego is the biggest killer of creativity. The struggle tends to become an issue for people in the middle and later years of their career.

How does competition promote creativity? ›

Researchers found that the right amount of competition — between one or two competitors — can actually spark more creative ideas. But too little or too much can hinder your progress. It makes sense. After all, there is nothing like an upstart colleague to inspire a fresh look at your work and what you might improve.

What does mean creativity? ›

Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.

How does time pressure affect creativity? ›

The Time-Pressure/Creativity Matrix Our study suggests that time pressure affects creativity in different ways depending on whether the environment allows people to focus on their work, conveys a sense of meaningful urgency about the tasks at hand, or stimulates or undermines creative thinking in other ways.

What are the disadvantages of deadlines? ›

Possible disadvantages of setting deadlines:
  • Stress. Fear of not coping with the task on time, panic because the date of passing the project is coming on, insomnia, fatigue... ...
  • Deterioration of work quality. If there is an objective lack of time to complete the task, the quality of the final results suffers.
14 Feb 2020

Can creativity and discipline go hand in hand Gd? ›

Discipline, on the other hand, is a matter of learning rules and applying them; it requires effort and practice. Discipline without creativity leads to rote memorization; creativity without discipline leads to distraction and chaos. They're two sides to the same coin: you need both to realize your full potential.

What are the six components of the creative process? ›

The six components of creativity – and how to make your organisation an innovation engine. Knowledge, imagination, attitude, resources, habitat, and culture are the key factors for entrepreneurial success.

What are the types of creativity? ›

There are 4 types of creativity: deliberate, cognitive; deliberate, emotional; spontaneous, cognitive; and spontaneous, emotional (Dietrich 2004).

What activities promote creativity? ›

Here are ten tried and tested activities for charging up your creativity:
  • Take A Class. Learning something new is like giving your brain a vitamin boost. ...
  • Keep a Journal. ...
  • Use Your Commute. ...
  • Challenge Your Body. ...
  • Meditate. ...
  • Go to sleep. ...
  • Meet Someone New. ...
  • Organise Your Space.
13 Sept 2019

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