Why Too Much Efficiency Kills Your Creativity

Two Phases of Creativity

Creativity isn’t something that only “creatives” need. Anyone who creates useful ideas is always in high demand.

And in our services-dominated economy, we need to be creative to succeed.

  • Sharing a helpful idea during a work meeting
  • Making your pitch unique for a client
  • Creating “original” art
  • and so forth

Netflix is a great example of being competitively creative in today’s high-paced world.

In the early 2000s, Netflix was a struggling DVD-rental subscription service with little creativity. Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings tried to cut his losses by selling the business to Blockbuster, then a major video and game rental store. But Blockbuster declined.

With the country going through a recession, Hastings had to lay off 30% of his staff.

This forced him to rethink things. If Netflix were to survive, it had to be creative and think of new ideas. It wasn’t just about efficiency anymore. They had to do everything differently.

In an interview1Source: L.A. Times, Hastings looked back at some of Netflix’s low points. And he reflected:

“If you think of the last 300 years, we’ve had factories providing enormous economic value, and so a lot of our society has the factory as the model of the organization. Very top-down, very process, very efficient.

But it’s not the right way to run a creative organization. An organization that needs new ideas needs to be able to make mistakes.”

Nowadays, productivity books and blogs are everywhere (you’re reading one right now). This shows how much people want to live a productive lifestyle. But we can also overdo it.

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