The anti-creativity checklist

A very interesting post from Youngme Moon at the HBR blog titled “the anti-creativity checklist“. The list is one that is “guaranteed to stifle imagination, innovation, and out-of-box thinking … a checklist designed specifically for people who want nothing to do with disruptive change”. I like the approach to looking at the opposite – too often we look at the “things you must do to achieve X” and forget to look at the barriers or “things we shouldn’t do”.

The list is presented in video format with some additional comments that you are likely to hear. However, if you’re impatient and want to see the list immediately, I’ve written them down to see.

  1. Play it safe
  2. Know your limitations
  3. Remind yourself – it’s just a job
  4. Be skeptical – show you’re the smartest person in the room
  5. Demand to see the data
  6. Respect history – always give the past the benefit of the doubt
  7. Stop the madness before it gets started – crush early stage ideas with your business savvy
  8. Use experience as a weapon – “been there, done that”
  9. Keep your eyes closed (and mind too)
  10. Assume there is no problem
  11. Underestimate your customers
  12. Be a mentor – give sound advice to people who work for you
  13. Be suspicious of the “creatives” in your organization
  14. When all else fails, act like a grown-up

Unfortunately, I’ve experienced too many of these in my short work history. I think the biggest threat to creativity is #5 “demand the data”.






One response to “The anti-creativity checklist”

  1. Gardiner Morse Avatar
    Gardiner Morse

    Hans — Thanks for summarizing Youngme’s list. I’m from HBR and saw that the moment we put the video up people were saying “is there a transcript?” Would you be willing to take your list above and post it in the comments section on Youngme’s blog? I think people would appreciat it.

    Thanks a lot.