joomla analytics

Motivation – a neglected key to creativity

When we think of creativity, we think of creative thinking. But motivation is at least as important to unlock high-level creative performance.

Mark McGuinness speaking at the Royal College of Art

Mark McGuinness speaking at the Royal College of Art for FuelRCA

There is now a large body of research evidence demonstrating some surprising findings about creativity:

  • When people are focused on extrinsic motivations – i.e. rewards and punishments – their creativity suffers.
  • But when they are driven by intrinsic motivations – e.g. interest, meaning, purpose, learning, freedom – their creative performance soars.

So if you’re engaged in creative work, you need to be very careful to focus on the right kind of motivation – which is hard when you are under pressure to succeed.

And if you’re the manager or leader of a creative team, you can actually harm their performance by offering rewards! You need to forget the carrot and the stick, and find new ways to inspire them to do their best work.

I’ve created this motivation training workshop to help you with these complex challenges, and harness the four most powerful types of motivation to produce outstanding creative work – in yourself or your team.

The workshop is based on my popular ebook How to Motivate Creative People (Including Yourself).

“This was nothing like I expected and much better than I expected. Made me look at how I work and why I work, in a completely different way. Mark has a very laid back style which is great.”

Sarah Turner,

There are two versions of the workshop: for Creatives and for Leaders of Creative Teams.

Motivation training for creatives

This workshop has been designed for creative people of all kinds — artists, creatives, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and anyone else who takes their creativity seriously.

It is perfectly suited to the specific needs of creative teams and creative industries workers, in fields such as television, design, advertising, marketing, publishing, architecture, computer games, music, fashion, film, theatre, dance or technology.

The workshop is also applicable to professionals working in any industry, if their success depends on tackling complex creative challenges and delivering focused work in a busy environment.

What you will learn

This practical motivation training will help you understand the four most powerful types of motivation and use them to achieve creative and commercial success.

I will show you how to:

  • Boost your motivation
  • Spark your creativity
  • Balance your creative and career ambitions
  • Influence others
  • Stop suffering for your art — start enjoying it!
“I really liked the way you related the issues of the talk with stories which you almost acted out! It was interesting relating problems which you experience yourself to other people who have succeeded – it made it seem more achievable! I really enjoyed it, a really comfortable atmosphere was created and the group seemed to get on well. Thank you!”

Candida Bradley,

Topics include:

  • The four most powerful types of motivation
  • Why focusing on rewards can harm your creativity
  • How to write 47 novels before breakfast
  • Why some people seem so weird — and how to deal with them
  • The positive side of peer pressure
“We were delighted to welcome to Mark to Creative Northants for a day-long workshop which focused on motivation in the morning and time management in the afternoon. I was particularly pleased to meet Mark, having followed his blogs for a few years.

“Mark has a direct and empathetic style and instantly established a strong rapport with the group of creative businesses with whom we work. We had a lively and engaging day, full of challenge and fun. The content of the workshop was exactly what the businesses were looking for and all left inspired and ready to implement some new ideas in their businesses.”

Morag Ballantyne, Business Development Advisor, Creative Northants

Motivation training for leaders of creative teams

This version of the workshop is for leaders, managers and directors and facilitators of creative teams:

  • Senior Creatives – who are getting to grips with inspiring and managing others
  • Professional Managers – who want to understand the creative mindset and motivate creative workers

I will help you:

  • Get inside the creative mindset
  • Understand how motivation affects creativity
  • Get better work out of creative people
  • Avoid (inadvertently) crushing their motivation
  • Use rewards effectively
  • Understand and influence different personality types
“If you’re a creative director like me, Mark’s ebook How to Motivate Creative People (Including Yourself) is a must-read.”

Tim Siedell, Fusebox

Topics include:

  • Why motivation is crucial to creativity
  • Why you can’t motivate anybody – but what you can do instead
  • What Iggy Pop can teach you about management
  • How to use rewards without harming creativity
  • How to promote creative collaboration
“Mark’s ebook is the kind of reading that should be required for new supervisors as well as those in the creative professions.”

Steve Roesler, Roesler Consulting Group

A practical and enjoyable learning experience

The workshop is highly interactive and helps you achieve sustainable motivation and innovation – keeping your creative spark alight and persevering in the face of challenges, to achieve things you can be proud of.

The workshop is delivered in person by me, and features:

  • Inspiring stories and relevant examples
  • How-to instruction
  • Lively group discussions
  • Practical activities and helpful feedback

When you attend the workshop you will receive a copy of my popular ebook How to Motivate Creative People (Including Yourself), which relieves you of the need to make detailed notes – so you can focus 100% on your experience of the training – listening, asking questions, sharing ideas and practising new skills.

I make sure everyone has plenty of fun during our time together – and that you leave with useful ideas and practical skills you can start applying the very next day at work.

Mark McGuinness – Creative Business Trainer

Mark McGuinness speaking at the Royal College of Art

Mark McGuinness speaking at the Royal College of Art for FuelRCA

I’ve been coaching and training creative professionals since 1996.

Organisations I have worked with include the BBC, Channel 4, Transport for London, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, TBWA Media Arts Lab, Dare Digital, ASOS, Magnum, Econsultancy, Gist, Vodafone, BT, Servier Laboratories, The Orchestra of the Age of Englightenment, The British Library Business and IP Centre, The Cultural Industries Development Agency (CIDA), The Arts Council, The Cultural Leadership Programme, Arts & Business, Spread the Word, The University of Warwick, King’s College London, the University of the Arts, London, and the Royal College of Art.

As well as facilitating others’ creativity, I know the creative process from the inside-out, as a poet and author of a string of successful ebooks and two of the most popular creativity blogs in the world, at and

I originally qualified as a psychotherapist and hold an MA in Creative & Media Enterprises (with distinction) from the University of Warwick.

“I can’t recommend Mark enough. His seminars are always engaging, useful and relevant. By the end of every session the seminar room is full of motivated and inspired faces. I can’t wait to work with him again!”

Sian James, Project Manager – Create KX

“Mark’s presentation and workshop was illuminating, entertaining and, most importantly, beneficial to my development team.”

Sean Kirkegaard, Development Executive – BBC Children’s Television

“Mark gave some excellent food for thought to the wide range of creative freelancers we work with. The seminar ended with the room buzzing even at 8pm at night after a long day’s work.”

Clare Hudson, Creative Industries Manager – Creative Leicestershire

Book this workshop for your organisation

To enquire about booking this workshop for your organisation, please contact me using the form below or by telephone at +44 (0)1707 644 665.

  • Please tick any additional workshops you may be interested in booking.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
“Mark was an engaging and likeable speaker, keeping a demanding audience of postgraduate art and design students rapt for nearly two hours. He tailored his material perfectly for our audience, and his advice was useful, relevant and pitched at exactly the right level. He also responded with sensitivity and warmth to the audience’s questions after his talk.”

Sarah Douglas, FuelRCA, Royal College of Art


If you’re considering booking this workshop for your team but you’re not sure whether it will address the specific challenges you’re facing, feel free to contact me using the form above.

I’ll be happy to discuss your requirements on a no-obligation basis – and of course I will treat anything you tell me as strictly confidential.