“Bringing creativity to work”- 8 November 2011

It was an interesting chat with a software professional based in Europe. Having studied and worked in India initially he was excited with the work culture abroad. He had no plans of coming back to his homeland to work he said. Such a pity! It saddens my heart when I witness such negative attitudes among our youth for their country. But it’s their exposure and their experience in foreign companies that opens their eyes to the differences and the advantages of working abroad. This is such a telling comment on our work culture and our home grown companies. The Indian companies on the fast track should take note about the opinions and perceptions of such experienced youth, if they care to.

For the intelligent and creative minds a stimulating atmosphere is the best opportunity they can get–for it helps not only in professional growth but personal development as well. A liberal work culture encourages new ideas and a free exchange of ideas among colleagues and the team. They love that! The atmosphere of sharing and exchanging thoughts, ideas and concepts is motivating and thrilling. There is a sense of excitement and freedom in the air. This encourages creativity. Such an atmosphere helps the intelligent minds to bring creativity to the work and extend the domain of knowledge. This is a continuous process and not a one- time phenomenon. That is ingrained in the system. Employees are given enough freedom to work and think out of the box and to implement their ideas.

A disturbing tendency seen among many employees here is to follow the beaten track and to do whatever is prescribed in their job profile. If they are asked to do something different they might think ‘what is in it for me’? ‘Will I be paid extra for this’? ‘Why should I bother’! Such attitudes only lead to mediocrity as it kills creativity in individuals and makes them servile. Attitudes such as these are rampant –ask any team leader and he will start grieving about it. Such attitudes could be deeply engrained in our collective conscious and unconscious as well as they get transmitted through the generations by nature or nurture. But that should not become a legitimate excuse to lament ‘nothing can be done about it’.

Whether the fault lies in the school system or the college level educational system or the family culture or society as a whole that is responsible for such attitudes is not the point of debate. The point is that when opportunities do exist in some organisations to experiment and explore, there too we get complaints of people not wanting to extend themselves beyond their bounden duties!

Ultimately people bring in change and not systems. One creative person can bring in tremendous change. And imagine what people can do collectively as a team if they unleash their creative talents. India has had many great dreamers who have ushered in scientific and industrial advancements. India owes it to them. The list is long but not very long enough considering the population numbers. Imagine how much creativity could be unleashed if we taught each child to be creative. The thought itself is energising.

Ask any researcher and he will tell you the same answer about the difference between creative and non- creative persons that creative people ‘enjoy and love their work’. They do things ‘for the love of it and not for the money aspect’. ‘They are continuously aspiring to bring creativity to their jobs and the work situation’. Money is important and that follows from a job well done. That is fixed before joining a job when the terms and conditions are finalised. Once done and taken care of, it is not the prime mover but a secondary consideration. The primary motivation is the pleasure of creating and the pain of aspiring to do that! The ecstasy is always necessarily connected to the agony of producing constructively. This dialectical process that churns the individual inside-outside leads to the evolution of the human mind and spirit. Nothing else does.

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