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Employees generally value creativity and freedom more than strict discipline. Creativity is a double-edged sword, though, warns Alf Rehn, acclaimed professor and the only Finn on the Suntop Media Thinkers 50 list. TexT by JORMA LEPPÄNEN PhoToS by JENNifER NEMiE ANd siNi PENNANEN he enfant terrible of Finnish business academia, professor Alf Rehn has angered creativity consultants by questioning the value and content of their product. "Selling creativity is easy because there's unlimited demand for it," says Rehn, who teaches at Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland. "There do not seem to be any authorities in the field, and even the most innovative companies can get stuck in dead ends," says Rehn. "If even their investments aren't enough to maintain continuous creativity, then we might as well look to the old Soviet Union as a role model." ENG 46 BLUE WINGS SEPTEMBER 2011 As he sees it, the idea of the former Soviet Union as a hotbed of creativity is not far-fetched, though we are accustomed to thinking of capitalist society as the only true engine of innovation. "Since the Soviet Union's planned economy often went off the rails, its citizens had to be exceptionally creative. Goods and services were exchanged unofficially. This created a very effective creative economy in which everyone pursued his or her own interest, almost in the spirit of Adam Smith," he says. "If you couldn't find tools in the shops of Moscow or Tallinn, then you made them yourself." Tongue-in-cheek, he relates the story of how NASA spent millions developing a ballpoint pen that could be used in weightless conditions, while the Soviet cosmonauts just made do with pencils.

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