Warm-up time boosts creativity among employees
Employees who are lower in the organisational hierarchy can become more creative when given time to “warm up” to a task by engaging in the creative task more than once.
Brian Lucas, assistant professor at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labour Relations, said, “This is important because when people with more power are able to express their creative idea more than those with less power, it leads to a rich-get-richer dynamic that reinforces or exacerbates these power differentials.”
Lucas, who is also co-author of the Low Power Warm-up Effect: Understanding the Effect of Power on Creativity Over Time report, which will be published in the July 2023 issue of Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, added, “Understanding ways to boost the creativity of lower power workers can help them navigate this low-power disadvantage, generate more creative ideas and promote a more equitable workplace.”
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The study showed that low-power employees, despite showing lower levels of creativity than those high-power employees at the start of a creative task, were able to catch after a while as the task gave them autonomy and freedom that helped them overcome their low-power disadvantage. The researchers also found that a different creativity task can prepare low-power employees for an unrelated creativity task.
“Given the high value of creative ideas for organisations and for the careers of the employees that champion them, it is important to cultivate strategies that empower all employees to tap their creative potential,” Lucas said.