creativity vs productivity

I polled my MBA students today, and nearly all of them had been asked in their job to be “more productive.” Interestingly, the same students had also been asked to be “creative” at work. A recent HBJ story indicates the two are at odds with each other. While the overall premise seems sound – that productivity requires organization and rigor with linear, measurable progress – I’m not sure I’m in total agreement. My wife has taught a class called “Rigor or Vigor”. In her case, she’s more on the side of helping budding artists bring some “rigor” into their practice. In my case it could be argued that with MBA students (or scientists/programmers), that I’m tilting the other way, trying to bring a bit more vigor and/or chaos to things.


Like all things in life though, I think we’re at a yin/yang place. You really can’t have creativity without some elements of productivity, and in fact true “productivity” requires a bit of non-linear thinking.

1 Comment

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December 6, 2015 at 9:21 pm

To quote a modern philosopher, Stephen King, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” I’ve found that some of my best ideas happen when I just show up at my desk/computer/guitar regularly, even when I don’t feel like it.

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