Ominous forecasts speculate that technological innovations will replace many occupational opportunities. To combat this looming calamity, creativity is being hailed as the skill of the future. Humans who conceptualize various alternatives to solve problems in original ways will likely excel and flourish.
What is Creativity?
Understanding the rapidly evolving field of creativity is complex, but a basic understanding can provide a framework to scaffold creative processes within ourselves and our children.
Generally defined as the ability to develop novel and useful ideas, creativity dazzles and delights us. From Leonardo Da Vinci’s prolific constructions to Albert Einstein’s theoretical propositions, we marvel at humans who develop unusual ideas that move the world.
But how do we go beyond what we already know to generate ideas that are both innovative and beneficial?
Mechanisms of Creativity
Several components have been identified as essential for the development of creativity:
- Expertise: A large and highly developed general knowledge base.
- Imaginative Thinking: The ability to view ideas and situations in a new way.
- Venturesome Personality: The desire to seek new experiences, take chances, and tolerate uncertainty.
- Creative Environment: A supportive atmosphere that sparks and encourages creative thought.
- Intrinsic Motivation: Being internally driven by challenge and inherent interest.
The last component listed, intrinsic motivation, is often misunderstood. Employers, parents, teachers, and coaches inadvertently undermine natural drive by utilizing behavioral strategies that work in the short-term to obtain behavioral change. These ostensibly effective techniques weaken creativity in the long run.
Operant conditioning principles—namely reinforcement and punishment—uncovered by Edward Thorndike and expanded upon by B.F. Skinner in the first half of the twentieth century—had profound effects on the way we conceptualize human and animal behavior.
Reinforcement increases the likelihood of a behavior reoccurring and includes both administering positive stimuli (e.g., money) or taking away negative stimuli (e.g., chores).
Punishment is any stimulus applied to decrease a behavior. A stimulus may be added (e.g., verbal reprimand) or taken away (e.g., iPad).
Operant conditioning motivates behavior through external means. These techniques are highly effective and succeed at behavioral modification in a multitude of environments across species. Psychologists, educators, and employers hailed the successes of behavioral techniques for decades, but questions arose regarding their effects on long-term motivation and creativity.
Why Didn’t We Learn From the Monkeys?
In 1949, primate psychologist Harry Harlow and his colleagues were studying the behavior of rhesus monkeys. One day, in preparation for an upcoming experiment on learning, the researchers put puzzles into the cages with the monkeys. The puzzles required three steps to solve:
- Pulling out the pin.
- Undoing the hook.
- Lifting the hinged cover.
To the surprise of the primate researchers, without reinforcements or punishments, the monkeys started playing with and (apparently) enjoying the puzzles. Then, the monkeys became adept at solving the puzzles without operant conditioning.
The monkeys’ behavior perplexed Harlow and his colleagues. Most psychologists at the time believed there were only two drivers of behavior:
- Biological Drives: Food, Water, and Sex
- Reinforcements and Punishments
Neither of these drives caused the monkeys’ unprompted puzzle solving. So, what was happening?
The researchers concluded the monkeys found the puzzle-solving inherently satisfying. According to Harlow, the monkeys were driven by something internal, which he labeled intrinsic reward—later intrinsic motivation.
What happened next was even more surprising. Harlow decided to provide an external reward (raisins) for puzzle solving. He assumed the tangible reward would improve task performance. However, the extrinsic reinforcers did not improve puzzle performance. In fact, the raisin-receiving monkeys made more mistakes and solved the puzzles less frequently.
Harlow grappled with his results. They were contrary to the prevailing behavioral zeitgeist at that time. Rather than battling the behavioral establishment, Harlow shifted to studying maternal contact comfort in monkeys.
Twenty years later, Edward Deci picked up where Harlow left off. He replicated Harlow’s ideas within college students by showing that tangible financial incentives decreased long term motivation to complete a project.
Deci went on to produce a voluminous body of work in the field of motivation. He and Richard Ryan later extended the work and developed Self-Determination Theory as a way to understand the three main universal intrinsic needs:
- Competence: The motive for mastery
- Autonomy: The motive to experience free-will and volition.
- Psychological Relatedness: The motive to feel connected with others.
These conditions foster high-quality motivation and increased engagement.
Intrinsic Motivation and Creativity
Prominent experimental psychologist, Beth Hennessey began her career as an elementary school teacher. She became interested in why she was seeing declines in motivation and creativity within her students as they moved from kindergarten to second grade.
She left her job as a teacher to attend graduate school. After decades of research, she stated the following about the relationship between motivation and creativity.
“Over the years, my colleagues and I have discovered that intrinsic motivation, the motivation to engage in an activity out of sheer interest in and excitement about a task, is essential for creativity; and extrinsic motivation, motivation driven by someone or something outside the task itself, is almost always detrimental.”
These are powerful words. According to hundreds of studies conducted by Hennessey and other researchers in this field of study—across all ages and walks of life—Hennessey and her colleagues found six specific intrinsic motivation killers that by extension kill creativity:
- Expected Reward
- Expected Evaluation
- Restricted Choice
- Restricted Time
This list should make many of us pause as the motivational killers are commonly used strategies within schools and places of employment.
“Clean up your toys or you will lose your tech hour!”
These utterings are often heard in our house. Using operant behavioral strategies is effective when we need swift compliance.
However, for domains of learning that necessitate the utilization of creative processes, we should be wary of purely operant methods. Instead, cultivate intrinsic drive by using what we know from experimental research—design environments that facilitate the development of competence, autonomy, and relatedness to nurture creativity.
Twentieth-century radio personality, Earl Nightingale famously said:
“Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm.”
He was right. Natural curiosity about the world inspires our imaginations and sparks creative thought. We must protect this intrinsic drive to enable creativity to thrive.
To attract future leaders, change is needed in an industry that has relied on a ‘conservative approach’ to executive compensation, says one healthcare consultant.
As health systems continue to face the pinch of tight margins, looming health policy overhauls, and the creep of nontraditional players to the market, hiring executives to lead nonprofit healthcare organizations requires the right incentives and compensation plans to retain them.
“I think that a lot of times when [providers] finally recruit [executives] and actually hire them, they’re only able to do so because they’re able to show that they have a compensation and benefits program [that is] appropriately positioned [for the executive],” according to Steven Sullivan, a managing director at Pearl Meyer, a consulting firm based in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Nonprofit provider organizations are under pressure to offer salaries to prospective executives that are comparable to other industries’ wages. At the same time, health systems must account for the extrinsic and intrinsic motivations of leaders when offering executive compensation packages.
Motivations influence compensation plans
Motivations to work at nonprofit health systems are complex and intertwined. Intrinsically motivated leaders are driven by their commitment to the mission of the organization and healthcare. However, extrinsically motivated leaders are driven by outside influences, such as sizable salaries and performance-based incentives, Sullivan says.
Sullivan says that nonprofit health systems and hospitals often have executive board volunteers who are intrinsically motivated to work for the mission of the organization and expect their leaders to do the same. But this arrangement has contributed to a “conservative approach” to executive pay by providers, he says.
“A big part of the battle is becoming aware of the fact that you’ve got people working for you who might be more intrinsically or extrinsically motivated to be there,” Sullivan says. “Try to be creative in thinking ways of connecting with them and taking advantage of that motivation.”
Sullivan adds that health systems are at “the beginning of a period of change” that focuses on retaining leaders with variable pay programs.
Given the cross-pollination of executives who have been recruited into healthcare roles from other industries such as tech or banking and who might have more extrinsic motivations, healthcare organizations have had to change the way they’ve approached executive compensation. This includes offering compensation and benefit packages that are more consistent with what is standard in those other industries and appeals to extrinsic motivations, Sullivan says.
Retaining your leaders
Executive compensation strategies should take into consideration how benefits packages entice executives during the recruiting process and how to keep leaders once you have hired them.
“[Executives] who are running multihospital systems are leaving and taking jobs with insurance companies or taking jobs with Amazon or Google and leading their healthcare initiatives,” Anthony Guaccio, CEO of Swedish Covenant Hospital, a Chicago-based nonprofit hospital, tells HealthLeaders. “That’s where all these Fortune 100 companies are getting their talent from these days. They’re poaching from big hospital systems or individual hospitals because they can offer a compensation that’s tenfold.”
Like Sullivan, Guaccio says nonprofit organizations can offer appropriate executive compensation to leaders by aligning pay with both the organization’s mission (intrinsic motivation) and performance-based incentives (extrinsic motivation), such as responsibility for the health system’s revenue growth.
He suggests that organizations offer short-term incentive plans (STIP) that center on missional goals such as raising HCAHPS scores by a certain percentage over the year to improve quality patient care.
Banner Health, an Arizona-based health system, has already implemented a similar approach by tying its executive compensation to patient satisfaction scores.
In addition, implementing long-term incentive plans (LTIP) should motivate leaders to achieve multiyear goals, Guaccio says, such as raising the organization’s market share and revenues by a certain percentage.
Executive compensation, by the numbers
Executive pay has changed at health systems in recent years, but this also depends where leaders are working.
Median base salaries for senior executives at independent health systems have grown at an annual rate between 3.5% to 4%, outpacing the rate of salary increases for executives at system-owned hospitals, according to a SullivanCotter report released earlier this month.
The study also found that performance-based incentives have overtaken base salaries in terms of growth. Executives at independent systems have seen compensation growth outpace system-owned hospitals in both median base salaries and performance-based incentives.
The SullivanCotter study also found that the use of LTIPs have grown in popularity. Forty-seven percent of health systems with more than $5 billion in revenues utilize LTIPs. Thirty percent of health systems with more than $1 billion in net revenue also use LTIPs.
Jack O’Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.
The 2-0 loss the U.S. men’s national team suffered at the hands of Canada a month ago in the CONCACAF Nations League was about as bad a result can be recalled by U.S. supporters in recent times. Well, except the loss to Trinidad & Tobago that kept them from the 2018 World Cup, the 1-0 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup final this summer or the consecutive losses to Jamaica and Venezuela back in the spring, but you get the point.
Indeed, times have been tough for the USMNT in recent years and the loss to Canada—ending a 17-game, 34-year undefeated streak against our neighbors to the north—was yet another low.
Low enough, in fact, to potentially put head coach Gregg Berhalter’s job under pressure. There’s fear that Berhalter’s squad may fail to advance to the final round of the Nations League from a group that includes Canada and Cuba and, even worse, this poor form will carry over into World Cup Qualifying next year. Earnie Stewart has handed Berhalter a vote of confidence, but that might not hold up well if the poor results continue.
So what’s the next task for Berhalter and the USMNT? Play Canada again. The continental rivals face off in another CONCACAF Nations League match Friday night in Orlando (7 pm ET; ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN). And with pressure growing on Berhalter with each passing bad result, a second consecutive loss to Canada could edge him closer to the exit door.
The trouble is, despite the decades it had been since Canada defeated the U.S., last time didn’t seem like a fluke. It seemed like a natural progression. The U.S. was completely outclassed by Canada in that loss, which makes sense when you look at the states of the two programs.
Under Berhalter, the U.S. has regressed, certainly from how we’ve seen the team perform over the last decade and perhaps even from the time late-Jurgen Klinsmann/Bruce Arena era. Berhalter’s insistence on using his preferred tactical style at the cost of hampering some of the U.S.’s best players has been a consistent problem. On the other side, Canada is going through something of a soccer renaissance under manager John Herdman and is in the midst of something of a “golden generation” talent-wise, led by 19-year-old Bayern Munich winger Alphonso Davies, who scored the opener against the USMNT in the 2-0 upset.
Because of where the U.S. and Canada find themselves at this moment—at relative nadirs and peaks, respectively—the two sides are closer than ever. So despite it taking more than three decades to happen, a Canada win over the U.S. shouldn’t be that surprising at this point in time, and it wouldn’t be that surprising to see it happen again.
There will be a few things that should play into the USMNT’s favor this time, though. Chiefly, the match will be played on American soil, in Florida, about as far from Canada as you can get in the continental U.S. On top of that, the U.S. should be plenty motivated to get the win, both to keep pace in the Nations League and to get revenge for the loss last time out.
However, there are some less intangible, and likely more important, factors that will play in Canada’s favor. USMNT talisman Christian Pulisic isn’t in the squad. Neither is Tyler Adams, Timothy Weah, Zack Steffen, Michael Bradley or Matt Miazga. That’s a healthy chunk of the U.S.’s top talent—as well as some of its most creative players—missing. The absence of Pulisic alone has to make the Canadians feel a bit more confident heading into this one considering his blistering form for Chelsea at the moment.
Canada will also have its own motivations, not least of which would be getting another win over a hated rival. A win would not only see Canada continue to hold its position atop its Nations League group, but it could be useful for World Cup Qualifying as well. FIFA rankings are used to determine the eight teams that will play in the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. At the moment, Canada is in sixth among CONCACAF teams in FIFA rankings, with El Salvador, Curacao and Panama hot on its tail. Another win over the U.S. could pay off big time when the Hex is solidified in June 2020.
“The USA have their motivations for this match, but for us it is another cup final, another game that could decide our fate for qualification to the Hex, so we will give absolutely everything we have to move this country one step closer to achieving that goal,” Herdman said.
As a Rideshare Driver, waiting for somebody to show on the App, I had plenty of time to meditate about important subjects that has been difficult to solve since the beginnings of Humanity, like for example: Who was first?, The Egg or the Hen?.After years of discussion, research and study, I’ve came to the conclusion that nobody knows and nobody will, determine WHO IS IMMIGRANT OR NATIONAL, since the Evolution Theory comes with the cell growing and evolving from it through Earlier Apes (Nakalipithecus), Ouranophitecus (Gorilla Split) , Sahelanthropus (Possibly Bipedal), Orrorin (Chimpanzee Split), in the Hominini Stage Miocene Age, then the Homo Habilis Stage of the Pliocene Age including the Ardipithecus & Australophitecus (Earliest Bipedal and use of Stone Tools), and the Pleistocene Age starting with the Homo Erectus (Exit from Africa and Earliest fire use), following the Homo Heidelbergensis (Earliest Clothes and Cooking), the Neanderthals and the Homo sapiens which characterize as Modern Humans/Speech, as published on Wikipedia; some religions still believe that there is a God who created a Man, then took out his rib and made a Woman, in some place (With unknown coordinates) named Eden, then the Woman ate an apple a snake gave her and then they both were kicked out from that place and sent somewhere else, even if I believe this theory, who can answer me who is the IMMIGRANT, if they then began to populate our Planet with their descendants?.
These days, sales of tiki torches and white bedding sets skyrocketed thanks to Radical Nationalist nerves stimulated by Leaders and small groups around the US and other “developed” countries on East, West, North and South, setting the public stage to the spread of hate speech and crimes.
But, is that bad to be here and speak other language, be fat – non white and ugly (like me)?, How does the US thrive with a population of 329,758,344 humans and around 350 languages spoken in its territory?
Juan Ramon Rodulfo Moya, Defined by Nature: Planet Earth Habitant, Human, Son of Eladio Rodulfo & Briceida Moya, Brother of Gabriela, Gustavo & Katiuska, Father of Gabriel & Sofia; Defined by the Society as: Venezuelan Citizen (Human Rights Limited by default), Friend of many, Enemy of few, Neighbor, Student/Teacher/Student, Worker/Supervisor/Manager/Leader/Worker, Husband of Katty/ Ex-Husband of K/Husband of Yohana; Defined by the Gig Economy: Independent Contractor 1099 Form; Studies in classroom: Master Degree in Human Resources Management, Adult Continuing Education, English, Chinese Mandarin; Studies at the real world: Human Behavior; Studies at home: Webmaster SEO, Graphic Web Apps Design, Internet & Social Media Marketing, Video Production, YouTube Branding, Trading, Import-Exports, Affiliate Marketing, Cooking, Laundry, Home Cleaning; Work experience: Public-Private-Entrepreneur Sectors; Other Definitions: Bitcoin Evangelist, Human Rights Peace and Love Advocate; Author of: Asylum Seekers, Why Maslow?: How to use his Theory to Stay in Power Forever, Manual for Gorillas: 9 Rules to be the “Fer-pect” Dictator and Why you Must Play the Lottery.
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