该项研究的主要作者、来自伊利诺伊大学（University of Illinois）的拉维·迈赫特在宣布研究结果时表示：“重视创造力的人，所注重的是那些奇异的‘超出常规’的事物。所以，他们不太可能关心他人的认同，或者在同事中的归属感。”
迈赫特与他的同事在《消费者研究杂志》（Journal of Consumer Research）中阐述了五项研究，来证明这种动态变化。在第一项研究中，140名大学本科生获得的任务是创造性地解决“擦鞋问题”，即在参加一次重要的公司宴会之前，如何快速清除鞋上的磨损处。
迈赫特称：“要求别人更有创造力，其实是在要求他们离经叛道 — 突破社会准则。”会被同事指指点点的想法可能抑制团队的创造力，但兑现一张支票的美好期望，则肯定能够激发我们的内部创新者。（财富中文网）
So you’re trying to inspire a group of people—perhaps your employees, perhaps your students—to think more creatively. Will you get better results offering them public recognition of their brilliance, or a monetary reward?
Newly published research suggests the clear answer is cold, hard cash.
“People who value creativity value the bizarre, the stuff that’s ‘out there,'” lead author Ravi Mehta, of the University of Illinois, said in announcing the findings. “Therefore, they’re less likely to care about the approval of others, or a sense of belonging with their peers.”
While a cash reward focuses us on the task at hand, “a social-recognition reward kills creativity,” he added. “It appeals to conformity, to not standing out, which drives you to the middle, not the edge.”
In the Journal of Consumer Research, Mehta and his colleagues describe five studies that demonstrate this dynamic. In the first, 140 university undergraduates were assigned to creatively solve “the shoeshine problem”—that is, figure out a way to quickly remove the scuffs from their shoes before attending an important company dinner.
One-third were told the participant who came up with the most creative solution would win $50. Another third were told that person would have their “solution, name, and picture featured in the school magazine.” The final third were not offered any reward.
The results: Those vying for a cash prize came up with more original solutions (as determined by 15 judges) than their counterparts in the other two groups. People anticipating social recognition and those not expecting any reward produced “comparable levels of creativity,” suggesting the thought of being in the magazine was extremely ineffective.
The follow-up studies replicated those results, and one added an important caveat. It found that, if you’re part of a social circle where “originality and innovation were accepted norms,” public recognition is just as effective an incentive as cash.
Sure, if you’re an artist trying to impress other artists, that high-profile prize can indeed be inspirational. But for those not eligible for a Pulitzer or Emmy—such as consumers who are invited to come up with new product ideas—money is the more effective motivator.
“When you ask someone to be creative, you’re asking them to be transgressive—to think beyond social norms,” Mehta notes. The idea of being judged by our peers can be inhibiting, but our inner innovator can be activated by the pleasant anticipation of cashing a check.