Culture & Competency

Creativity Can't Be Purchased; It Flourishes

A recent study at RMIT University in Australia found that cash isn’t a driver of creativity:

“Fast-growth SMEs are the high-power engines of our economy, comprising only 3 to 10 per cent of firms but generating up to 90 per cent of employment growth,” Dr Tan said.

“These companies are not just the most innovative and creative, they’re also the most learning oriented.

“But our study showed providing financial incentives linked to performance does not motivate staff to learn – money can’t buy creativity.

“Instead, we found an open workplace culture, where staff can experiment, take risks and question fundamental beliefs and work patterns, is critical to learning.

“Leaders need to act as role models, stimulating employees intellectually, providing a road map, and focusing on creating the supportive environment that will build a truly learning oriented enterprise and drive their firm’s success.”

Let’s state this a different way. Every employee needs enough money to survive – to pay their bills, to care for their family, to make a contribution to society – and something to help them thrive can be useful too. If these conditions are met, paying more won’t drive creativity – it will demand it, it will make the brain work too hard because it’s been paid to perform, etc. Creativity is the side-effect of being in an appropriate environment – it’s more gift than graft (per meaning #2, as a noun). Equally, sometimes not having enough is a huge stimulator for creativity, innovation, and productivity … because you have to do it to survive.

Read more: Cash can’t buy creativity: study

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