I remember that my most creative times were when I had much time available for thinking, trying something out and philosophying about the future and experiences from the past (BTW: these were the days prior to having a family and especially those times where the relationship with my wife was a long-distance relationship because I had plenty of "free" time I could dedicate to my work ;-) ). Later on, when I was already married it happened that I had to travel a lot in car with colleagues. The communication / discussions we had there also lead to a lot of creative solutions.
These times are definitely gone for me. There is productivity pressure. More has to be achieved with less effort/time/money. And I can see similar at a lot of other places. People want to make more cash with less effort or people want to get more for less money.
One thing I wonder is, why pressure is not just happening due to bad planning but also continously used as a strategy to get the most out of the working crew. I already wrote about parkinson's law several times what I think of it - basically causing impact on quality. The only positive aspect that probably has been the original intention is to cause productivity optimization in the way that the workers find the easiest implementable solution that shows the biggest effect.
But guess what: Working always with the minimum possible effort in mind, you can't achieve really outstanding and big success. I don't mean that for each step in a big project you shouldn't search for the most efficient way to solve the problem. Applying this principle to a project as a whole you end up finding the easiest and not the best solution - and there might be a huge difference in the overall benefit and even in the return of investment. I think, when building the pyramids, they didn't thought of the easiest solution but for the best quality solution.
And with trying only the quickest and easiest approaches companies either might not win big advantages over competitive vendors...
Related posts: Parkinson's law and quality, High quality needs time, Economy forecast, Urging to forge at full speed.