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3 Conditions That Foster Innovation In The Workplace

To study the effect of job conditions on work quality and innovation, Teresa Amabile, a Harvard Business School professor, and her colleagues conducted several studies. In one study …

they identified several projects where innovation was the desired outcome, and asked managers and workers to rate the projects in terms of whether the results actually had been creative or not. Then they asked about the presence or absence of several work conditions for all of these projects. They found that the best results required three things:

1. That people be given a great deal of freedom in figuring out how to carry out the work—that is, the opportunity to make day-to-day decisions in the project;
2. That team members felt challenged in a positive fashion by the work; and
3. That people felt they has sufficient organizational support (resources, a supportive work group, a supportive supervisor who communicated well, and an organizational environment where creativity was encouraged.

—via 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

Still curious? The carrot and stick approach doesn't work with knowledge workers. In Dan Pink's Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, he suggests a better approach is to motivate by creating a system that encourages autonomy, mastery, and purpose — that, he argues, is what really motivates us.
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