Creative Inspiration: Using Recognition to Stimulate Ideas
This week, New York City is having its very own Internet Week. While I’m not personally attending most of the events, as a creative communications person and a geek, I’ve been streaming most of the panels and listening in at my desk for tips and tools that might help me do my job better. I wasn’t really anticipating much in the way of conversation on employee recognition, but was surprised by presentation by Scott Belsky of a company called Behance. Behance “designs products and services that organize the creative world.” Essentially they’re idea people that are focused on helping creative types connect in new ways – I love that.
Scott wrote a book called Making Ideas Happen, and I’ve already added it to my summer reading list. In it, he discusses the challenges creative people have with organization and productivity. Productivity is a very tangible thing for most traditional employees – they are producing things, moving things, selling things – those things are quantifiable; they have precise value. While I can’t say that motivating these employees is simple by any means, I think it’s safe to say that, compared to creatives, it’s easier to measure their output and correlate it to the goals and mission of the business. At a minimum, these things help in developing sound recognition strategies and programs designed to motivate them.
With creatives, it’s much more ambiguous: how do you measure ideas? Sure, you assign metrics to deliverables – like ad copy, press releases, articles, graphic designs. But if you’re hiring these people because of how many advertisements they can generate in a given amount of time, I’m afraid you’re missing the point. You’re paying them for their unique perspectives and ability to influence.
What about inspiration? Most creatives claim they’re inspired by the world around them. Is your workplace conducive to stimulating creative ideas from these employees? Do the same methods you use to motivate your more product-oriented employees work for those who deal in creative thought? Certainly, these employees can be motivated in the workplace, but it might require looking a little closer at what makes them tick.
Scott Belsky mentioned in his presentation that concepts like “play” and recognition go a long way. I once worked at a creative PR agency that had a “play” room with contraption-style toys, a stereo and brightly colored murals on the walls – it was supposed to inspire us. We were encouraged to decorate our cubicles – it was vibrant. And it was a great place to work. Have you ever used these methods for motivating your more creative employees? What do you think about them?
Another great presenter/author, Dan Pink claims that creatives will rule the future. If you’ve been using the one-size-fits all approach to your diverse staff, it might be time pay a little special attention to this lot.
Stay tuned for my review on Making Ideas Happen…
See all posts on Blog