Creativity and Innovation Management - Motivation

Motivation in creativity and innovation is more important than personality traits. This is like possessing high intelligence ? one must be motivated to improve and apply it.

It is compelling that motivation and creative output are positively correlated. The more motivated an individual, the more likely he or she is to engage in the task at various cognitive levels until an outcome is achieved.

Contrary to many assertions, factors that make up motivation can be isolated, monitored and measured using standard quantitative techniques.

This allows a leader, consultant or manager to measure and improve motivation with a corresponding rise in creative output.

There are broad and specific categories of motivation.

Broad categories (Amabile, 1983):

a) Intrinsic motivation - that where fulfillment is reached by attaining the solution to the problem itself, the activity is engaged in for its own sake. Characteristics of intrinsically motivated people include commitment to work, passionate involvement, total absorption and devotion to their work, interest and satisfaction in their work, challenged by their work.

b) Extrinsic motivation ? that where the achievement of the task results in the fulfilment of an ulterior end, rather than the task itself. It is the motivation to engage in an activity primarily in order to meet some goal external to the work itself, such as attaining an expected reward, winning a competition or meeting some requirement.

Extrinsic motivation is itself split into two categories: synergistic and non-synergistic. Synergistic extrinsic motivators provide information or enable the person to better complete the task and act in accordance with intrinsic motives. Non-synergistic reward leads a person to feel controlled and is incompatible with intrinsic motivation.

A number of specific categories exist, including:

a) The gap between the person's ideal and real self. If an individual perceives that he is not what he wishes to be, he is more likely to be motivated to engage in activities that bring him closer to his ideal self.

b) The perceived enjoyability of the task. Terms such as "fun," "amusing," "fascinating" and "inspiring" are common.

c) The degree of challenge. The more a task is perceived as challenging and competency expanding, the more the intrinsic motivation.

d) Feasibility. If a task is perceived to be unreachable, intrinsic motivation decreases.

e) Control of ones destiny. If an individual perceives that a task is not under his control, then intrinsic motivation decreases.

f) Recognition is noted by many to be a powerful driver of task engagement.


These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a DIY Audit, Powerpoint Presentation and Good Idea Generator Software) from

You are free to reproduce this article as long as the author's name and site URL are retained. A link to the MBA dissertation would be appreciated.

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Kal Bishop MBA is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on

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