Everyone wants to think of something new—solve a problem no one else can solve, offer a valuable idea no else has conceived of. And every business wants to encourage its employees to have the next great idea.
So when a business offers its employees a bonus for creative ideas, a flood of great, original thoughts should come pouring in. Right?
We think that creativity, like any other task, can be bought and sold. But creativity is not the same as hard work and effort; it requires genuine inspiration. It is the product of a mind thoroughly intrigued by a question, a situation, a possibility.
Thus, creativity comes not in exchange for money or rewards but when we focus our attention on something because we want to.
Experiments offering money in exchange for creative solutions to problems find that monetary rewards are unrelated to the capacity of people to offer original ideas.
Instead, creativity is most frequently the product of genuine interest in the problem and a belief that creativity will be personally appreciated by superiors.