Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Cooperation and Creativity

It is lovely when you call it addressing Darwin's blind spot. Amazingly enough it turns into an instance of 'stating the obvious' when you read about it in a FastCompany article which overturns six common myths about creativity (via Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School has conducted an eight year study on creativity in business environments. One of her preliminary findings is this:
There's a widespread belief, particularly in the finance and high-tech industries, that internal competition fosters innovation. In our surveys, we found that creativity takes a hit when people in a work group compete instead of collaborate. The most creative teams are those that have the confidence to share and debate ideas. But when people compete for recognition, they stop sharing information. And that's destructive because nobody in an organization has all of the information required to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
Isn't it sad to think that most companies are too fear-driven to actively embrace policies that are really good for them? Or, more horridly even, are companies like people who persist in doing what is bad for them although they know better?

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