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Nov 2017

How target setting can unleash and enhance creativity

Many organisations rely on the knowledge and experiences of their employees in order to generate creative ideas for product, process, and other forms of innovation. Often, they allow their employees across rank-and-file to pursue some creative activities next to their regular job duties by specifying some time to spend away from their routine task (input target) or by incorporating budgetary slack in their regular output targets.

However, little is known about the effectiveness of these systems and the underlying mechanisms. Our experimental results demonstrate that providing both input and output targets for routine tasks leads to greater creative task performance relative to providing only one of these or no target.

While for a long time there has been a perception that organisations cannot manage the creativity of their employees and specifically that incentive compensation hinders creative thinking of employees, recently there is a more nuanced view of control and creativity.

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How target setting can unleash and enhance creativity