A company's most important assets include raw materials, technology and political influence. But most important of all is creative capital. Simply stated, it’s a group of creative thinkers whose ideas can be turned into valuable products and services. Creative employees bring new technologies, develop new industries and power economic growth. Professionals whose primary responsibilities include innovating, designing and problem solving—the “creative class”—make up one-third of the U.S. workforce, and take home nearly half of all wages and salaries.

If you want your company to succeed, these are the people you entrust it to. The question becomes how to manage these people for maximum creativity. How do you increase efficiency, improve quality and raise productivity, while accommodating the complex and chaotic nature of the creative process? Management guru Peter Drucker identified the role of knowledge workers and, long before the dot-com era, warned of the dangers of trying to "bribe" them with stock options and other financial incentives. Research shows that creative people are motivated from within and respond much better to intrinsic rewards than to extrinsic ones.

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