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Innovation in policing
Innovation in policing

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4.1 Practices that help or hinder creativity

Leading innovation thinker, Teresa Amabile, highlights that there are a number of key practices that can help or hinder creativity – and thus innovation – in organisations.

Figure 7 Professor Teresa Amabile
Table 2 Amabile’s factors that help or hinder creativity
Factors that hinder creativity Factors that support creativity
  • A practice and acceptance of harsh criticism of new ideas
  • A sense of positive challenge in the work
  • Political issues within the organisation
  • Diverse and collaborative teams that are focused on ideas and include a range of skills
  • An emphasis on maintaining the status quo
  • Freedom and autonomy to undertake work
  • A conservative, risk-averse attitude among top management
  • Encouragement and support for the development of new ideas from managers
  • Excessive time pressure to complete projects and work
  • A clear organisational vision for creativity which is supported by top leadership within the organisation
  • An excess focus on extrinsic motivators such as money and other rewards
  • Appropriate recognition for creativity and creative work
  • Mechanisms and processes supporting the development of new ideas
  • Behavioural norms that support the active sharing of ideas across the organisation
(Adapted from Amabile, 2013, p. 136)

Activity 4 Factors hindering creativity

Reflect on Amabile’s list of factors that help and hinder creativity. Which of these have you experienced in your own organisation? What has been the impact?

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At various times and in various contexts you will no doubt have experienced some of the factors that help or hinder innovation. This is only natural: each situation is different with its own challenges and opportunities. The key to innovation success lies in acknowledging the various factors impacting on the organisation and working, on the one hand, to strengthen those positive elements while, on the other hand, working to mitigate or manage those less positive elements.

By considering those practices that help or hinder innovation in organisations we can start to do something about them. The next section continues the discussion of innovation in organisations by reflecting on organisational capabilities for innovation.