The Great Creativity Debate: Jenny Gottstein, The Go Game

The Great Creativity Debate: Jenny Gottstein, The Go Game

By Kelsey Ogletree, March 19, 2016

What’s the best way to kill creativity? And How can organizations reverse this?

Creating a fear-based workplace is the worst thing you can do. Think about what the opposite of fear is: confidence, solidarity, safety. When you’re afraid, you feel isolated. That sense of resiliency is connected. That’s what you need to be creative, and you can’t do it without those qualities. Going back to the architecture metaphor, companies have to build the walls from within so creativity can manifest itself. Create a culture where people can connect in a meaningful way, celebrate accomplishments collectively (“We did this together!”) and also applaud individual work.

“It’s impossible to be creative if you’re doing the same thing and same method all day, every day.”  —Jenny Gottstein

How does technology affect creativity?

I’m a huge believer in technology as a vehicle for creativity. I was recently watching The New York Times virtual reality videos. From my kitchen, I was instantly transported to a place around the world. That’s the best use of technology. I think the exercise of seeing something you’ve never seen before is important for the brain. It makes you aware of more possibilities. There was an article in Smithsonian magazine that discussed how sci-fi was great in that it allows us to “try the future on for size.” It lets us do a dress rehearsal and imagine what we would do in future situations. I think the same is true for games or anytime you play make-believe—it’s a dress rehearsal for future possibilities. I see technology making that experience more profound.

Do you think generations view creativity differently?

There’s definitely a distinction. We did a survey recently to get a sense of how different generations approach creativity, and their feelings about teambuilding and connecting with co-workers. We found millennials overall tend to see creativity as a tool for success. In general, baby boomers view it less as a tool and more as a distraction. The numbers are not hugely different, but there’s a shift. Be aware of the difference, and make sure creativity and playfulness are as supported and celebrated in work culture as methods that are more familiar and compelling to the older generations.

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