What marks this research out is Amabile's approach: studying the journals of 238 'PhD students, graduate students and managers from various companies' for indicators of what drove creativity, but without explicitly informing them that she was focusing on creativity.
The results, summarised below by Caterina, are illuminating. I also can see some major implications for corporate responsibility and have interleaved them.
1. Creativity Comes From Creative Types
As a leader, you don't want to ghettoize creativity; you want everyone in your organization producing novel and useful ideas, including your financial people.
alt: And, by extension, to people working in CR: 'novel and useful ideas' are what is needed to deliver corporate responsibility that changes business and demonstrates value. Equally, I think you can say the same about ghettoizing and CR - everyone should be in a position to respond to it, not just a specialised team.
2. Money Is a Creativity Motivator
People put far more value on a work environment where creativity is supported, valued, and recognized.
alt: I suspect that environments that support and value people and give them the space to grow and live their values are what employees want. People like to be creative so it figures that a supportive, open environment promotes creativity. Equally, if such environments allow people to live their values, you get workplaces that live 'corporate responsibility'
3. Time Pressure Fuels Creativity
Time pressure stifles creativity because people can't deeply engage with the problem.
alt: Leadership in corporate responsibility requires some new and creative thinking about some seriously challenging issues. How does, for example, a car manufacturer deal with the popularity of SUVs and respond to climate change? Some deep engagement with the issues is needed and that needs time. Which, incidently is the topic of a new book I've edited...
4. Fear Forces Breakthroughs
Creativity is positively associated with joy and love and negatively associated with anger, fear, and anxiety.
alt: Environments in which employees feel they are doing something positive for others (i.e. not just earning a wage and making shareholder value) are more highly valued than those that don't. Corporate responsibility too often gets bogged down in measurement, reporting, thou-shalt-not and goodness knows what worthiness that abounds, yet at heart it is about empathising with stakeholders and the environment, a positive emotion associated with love and potentially joy. In a convoluted way I am saying that a CR programme rooted in positive values should help deliver on creativity
5. Competition Beats Collaboration
When people compete for recognition, they stop sharing information.
alt: Prerequisites for effective CR include accountability and transparency - these build trust and provide the critical foundations for collaboration both with internal and external stakeholders.
6. A Streamlined Organization Is a Creative Organization Creativity suffers greatly during a downsizing.
alt: Ditto CR. This is often because both creativity and corporate responsibility, despite warm words about their centrality to a business, are often considered additional, nice-to-have.
I would contend that creative organisation is better placed to deliver value through corporate responsibility. I would also contend that a business that embeds corporate responsibility based on real values held by its staff is better placed to make the conditions identified by Amabile.
So: time to find some supporting evidence. Case studies welcome.