Sunday, September 28, 2008

Modern management and creativity

At a recent Harvard Business Publishing post, Professor Teresa Amabile asked an interesting question: is management the enemy of creativity? Teresa argued that it was the bureaucracy in management that caused the gradual loss of creativity in big corporations. Therefore, a major revision of modern management must be up to the calendar.

I, however, have a different thought of this issue. I think that by nature management is to control, in contrast to encourage, creation.

As Ralf Lippold mentioned in his comment. "What makes CREATIVITY often so dangerous ... is that CREATIVITY always means leaving the traditional and known paths ..." Though as a thinker I am a definite advocate of creativity, I earnestly support this comment. Creativity many times is synonymous to danger. A company is not living in dream, but in reality. Therefore, stability of its execution is generally the most critical demand. The primary goal of management is to support this stability instead of breaking the stability, though inevitably it also causes bureaucracy.

Innovation or creativity is another story. Controversially, I believe that it is small companies instead of big companies that must have strong research departments. For big companies, what they need is actually a department of venture investment other than a department of research. In my view, such a distinction is the right balance between management and creativity. Small companies are light management, heavy creativity. Big companies are heavy management, light creativity. At the same time, big companies use its stability to protect and foster the growth of real creativity in a broad base of small companies. This infrastructure would eventually maximize the protection of creativity and at the same time would guarantee the stability of our society.

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