I believe we all are creative, and can be in Government roles – with caveats. It’s dependent on whether the environment aligns with our natural talents for creativity. For instance, I’ll generalize Government service as one of being rooted in data, of adherence to established systems and procedures, of preserving the status quo, and of dealing with abstract concepts. Now, on the surface, one might say that such a description is the antithesis of what we typically call “creativity,” yet I argue that that is not the case.
For instance, since many Government jobs are rooted in data and details, an example of creativity would be data mining for information that when combined in new ways provides new insights. Another would be to combine existing systems in new ways that improves performance, reduces cost, or both. I could go on.
Now, if your definition of creativity is creating a start-up, then yes – you’ll be beating your head against the proverbial brick wall. I once heard Government described by a scholar at GWU as being a “friction maximizing device,” meaning that it is slow to change…by design. Therefore, entrepreneurial approaches in Government – those that shortcut systems or upset the status quo – will encounter a lot of resistance. Yet it is my point that there are other definitions of creativity, and those will thrive in Government.
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