Ethics and creativity. Related?

A study recently released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America reports  rich people are more likely to engage in unethical behaviour – cutting off motorists, lying in a negotiation and cheating to win a prize – than are their less wealthy counterparts. Researchers also found  those who considered themselves ‘upper class’ were more likely to take valued items of others, and see greed and self interests as good pursuits.

Of course the findings are not universal, that is not ALL wealthy people share these traits, and not all of those who are relatively impoverished are ethical.  Still it makes me wonder about the ethics of creativity and creativity professionals.

Some people think of creativity, that is, making new decisions that are novel and relevant (as well as the incumbent new ideas generated to solve a challenge or recognize/seize/create an opportunity) as cheating.  Cheating because the novel decision does not play by existing rules. Do you think that is one reason some people are reluctant to use creative thinking?

The International Center for Studies in Creativity is hosting the Creativity Expert Exchange May 14-16 in Buffalo, NY.  I submitted a proposal to lead a session on creativity professionals’ conduct, competencies and ethics, so this newly released research triggered further thinking. I believe its time for us to have important conversations and ask important questions, such as:

  • Do creativity professionals play by rules? If yes, what are they and where do they come from?  What happens if a creativity professional breaks the rules, and cheats, for example.  What then?
  • Is it the responsibility of creativity professionals to make sure their clients act ethically?  What role do facilitators play in the outcome and execution of the new ideas and new decisions they help to surface and create?
  • What competencies do creativity professionals need to have?  How do they prove it?