Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Does Creativity Contribute to the Bottom Line?

After a bit of a hiatus from my series on innovation and creativity in HR and recruiting, I'm back with a new entry.

My last entry spoke about firing your internal clients a la Crispin Porter + Borgusky. It was a good look at how thinking outside the box (for some, this was an example of thinking way outside the box) can sometimes be healthy for your organization.

Now for a completely different take on this debate.

Enter Robin Hanson of George Mason University. For Professor Hanson, there's a myth of creativity that has been overblown in Corporate America. Executives have been issuing this innovation war cry for the last few years..."pleading" with their employees to put their creative thinking caps on.

But for Hanson, this is all for naught. Among other things, Hanson argues that there are too many people focusing on "big ideas"...and not enough people focused on the "millions of small changes we constantly make to our billions of daily procedures and arrangements." You can read the whole thing for yourself here.

It's a very pragmatic view of this whole debate...and a very tempting stance on innovation and creativity.

Is he right? Perhaps. Can he be wrong? There's always the possibility, of course.

If you're interested in who might disagree with Hanson, look no further than Richard Florida. Click here for a full rebuttal to the above stated viewpoint.

Looks like a feisty intellectual debate!

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