How “Good Stress” Breeds Creativity and Innovation

Jack Skille scores the game-winning goal again...

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There are some who believe stress is a bad thing when it comes to creativity and innovation. However, those of us in the trenches know a little “good stress” can actually help boost creativity and innovation. So, what is the difference between good stress and bad stress? When asked if people want the good news first or the bad news first, most choose the bad news, so here goes. Bad stress includes time pressure and organizational impediments, like political problems, harsh criticism of new ideas, and emphasis on the status quo. I’m sure many of you have “been there, done that.” Researcher Theresa Amabile, has spent much of her career studying time pressure and organizational impediments. If you’re interested, check out Time Pressure and Creativity: Why Time is Not on Your Side. Now for the good news, stress can also be positively linked to creativity and innovation.

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Meetings…How many people does it take to solve a problem?

Conference room

Image by Duke Energy via Flickr

Recently, I’ve been pondering how many (or how few) people it takes to efficiently and effectively solve a problem. Unfortunately, sometimes solving problems means lots of meetings. While meetings are intended to promote collaboration and to bring the best thinking to challenges, not all meetings are productive. I believe¬† good meetings hinge upon two things: 1) leadership and 2) teamwork. As I watched the recent U.S. debt deal unfold in Congress, I began to think about how poorly solved problems could be a result of unproductive meetings.

When it comes to leadership, a good leader sets a vision, creates clear goals AND helps the team reach those goals. Yes, there are different types of leadership styles and ways of approaching situations, but as author, John C. Maxwell said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

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Is Creativity like Eating a Balanced Meal?

Pottery Factory

Image by usr.c via Flickr

For the past 15 years I have worked in a world made up of web sites, social media, online advertising, and other virtual experiences. This week at work I began craving the creation of physical things. As I left work on Friday, I was ready to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty…cooking, making pottery, designing draperies, painting walls.¬† You name it – I was ready. In speaking with my co-workers, they felt the same way. It seems when you’re continually creating in one realm, it can cause you to crave creativity in other realms.

I started thinking about how creativity is like eating a balance meal. While it may be healthy to eat just steamed vegetables, mixing in some grains, fruits, and beans adds texture and interest. Perhaps creativity is, in fact, like eating a balanced meal. While you may prefer one food group over another, it is a varied and colorful diet that provides the most sustenance.

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3 Truths About Innovative Companies

Leonardo da Vinci is well known for his creati...

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It seems talk of innovation is everywhere. In the news, in world events, in boardrooms around the globe. Innovation may just be the buzzword of this generation. With all the talk of innovation, why are so many companies struggling to become more innovative? I believe creativity, vital to innovation, has been overlooked. I created this SlideShare presentation, titled “3 Truths About Innovative Companies” to explore the topic of creativity in business. In this module, you’ll learn:

  • How to become a more creative organization
  • How to get more creativity in less time
  • How to create a climate for creativity