Nurturing Talent & Creativity

John Cimino recently posted some quotes from architects on the Creative Skills Training Council chat site. A couple of quotes reminded me of the movie / documentary Sketches of Frank Gehry which I saw last year, thanks to the generosity of the Powerhouse Museum.

I loved some of Gehry’s quotes in the movie (as I remember them):
Talent is liquid trouble.
It’s quite fragile – finding your connection [to your purpose]. (He told the story that one of his architecture teachers told him he wasn’t made for architecture).
[In business] You only have a sliver, maybe 10% of creativity, the other 90% is commerciality, but you’ve got to protect that 10%.

Similarly, Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink focuses on the fragility of good decision making and how certain people and environments can impact our judgment.

I agree that talent and creativity are fragile things and need a nuturing environment and recently have been paying more attention to the environment that we as managers can create for our people.

My Environmental checklist currently comprises five headings and I’m building as I go:

Direction – a clear direction and milestones for getting there

Physical – space to work comfortably – lighting, heat, amenities, to collaborate and to work quietly

Learning – space to experiment, admit you don’t know, question and debate

Performance – support for high standards of performance ie. completion, meeting deadlines, quality, customer satisfaction and regular constructive feedback about progress

Reward – relevant intrinsic and external rewards as well as time out for play

What else do you need in your environment, to motivate you to succeed?

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