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Are Experts Better Innovators? Part B

Creativity is a sum of domain skills, creative thinking and working skills, and intrinsic motivation. In the previous blog, I stated that everything else being equal, experts should be more creative. This part is about the “everything else”: creative thinking and working skills, and intrinsic motivation.

Creative Thinking and Working Skills

It may take 10,000 hours to become an expert, but, fortunately, acquiring creative thinking and working skills takes less time. On the other hand, unfortunately, these skills are rarely taught, and reading a book about creativity is unlikely to make anyone more creative. The only way to learn creative thinking and working skills is by doing. Living and breathing these skills every day, is what makes an organization like IDEO so creative.

When was the last time you organized a brainstorming session to create alternative solutions to a pressing issue? Whom did you ask to participate: your best buddies in the office, or the most diverse crowd you could think of? How many ideas did you generate? As a benchmark, 10 participants should be able to generate more than 100 ideas in 10 minutes. The more brainstorming sessions you hold, the more productive these sessions will become. Practice makes perfect!

Intrinsic Motivation

What about intrinsic motivation? Does your organization encourage creativity? Or is the most certain way to promotion to follow the orders and career path of your boss? Nothing is wrong with that expectation, but it does limit the growth opportunities of your organization. Improper incentives can be demotivating, thereby killing intrinsic motivation. To encourage creativity, you don’t need a lawless cowboy culture. Cowboys are not known for their creativity! Instead, you need a framework that provides space to play, try out things, and learn from mistakes.

Interested in knowing how to obtain creative thinking and working skills, and to build a framework that supports creativity for your organization? Please visit our website at or contact us by e-mail: info “at” organizing4innovation “dot” com.



Amabile, T.M. 1998 How to Kill Creativity, Harvard Business Review (September/October), pages 77-87

Hargadon A, and R.I. Sutton, 1997, Technology Brokering and Innovation in a Product development firm, Administrative Science Quarterly (42) pages 716-749

Govindarajan V. and C. Trimble, 2010, The Other Side of Innovation, Boston: Harvard Business Review Press

Thomke, S.H. A. Nimgade, 2007, Ideo Product Development, Harvard Business Case