How to Integrate Creativity in Organisations – creativity is essential to the success of organizations across the globe. Creativity at work is about combining, changing, or reapplying existing ideas. Simple, small, practical ideas that no one seems to have thought of yet can save or create fortunes. And essential skills that help us to foster creativity in ourselves and others include empowerment, courage, curiosity and good leadership.
But companies – British or US, European or Asian – are not systematically grasping the creativity nettle so as to embed it in the company culture. Which means it is up to those in leadership positions to take the reins and give creativity a seat at the table. But do you embed creativity in organisations?
Creativity Can Be Scary
Creative thinking does not rely on past experience or known facts. It is about visualizing a new product or a new future… and working out how to get there. It is about exploring possibilities, the ‘what if’ of the imagination. It is amorphous, ambiguous, open ended … and a bit scary if you have never encountered or never been given the permission to pursue that kind of thinking.
It is certainly not typical thinking found in the workplace where there are nite outcomes, focused aims and objectives with performance indicators and monitoring.
So we can understand why there is a reluctance to embrace creative thinking with its whiff of the insurgent about it. Once unleashed, how can you control it? This is a legitimate question as you can’t just let the creatives take over the workplace so that every idea is pursued in the hope that one works. Some judgement is necessary.
Reactions to Creative Thinking
The scariness of creative thinking leads to two reactions from organizations.
- They hand over the mantle to research and development departments which are tasked with coming up with new ways of doing things. Or since everything is now online, the IT department is landed with ‘leading edge’ initiatives.
- They invite creative consultants to facilitate the new business plan, future company strategy, change programme or new product development – and then disappear.
This ‘peripheral’ input insulates creativity from the rest of the organization. It might be very helpful, but leaving creativity to others misses a trick.
Those who are part of the company, who are carrying out the work, probably have 25 ideas a day but no one has asked them for their input and so their creativity never sees the light of day. And since we know that everyone is creative, just in different ways, why wouldn’t you tap into this resource on your doorstep?
Ingredients for Corporate Creative Success
Creativity in organisations is not a given. In order to embrace creativity from within, companies must develop the three ingredients: attitude, technique and skill.
- An attitude of diversity and inclusion.
- Provision of critical feedback in a positive framework.
- Rewarding failure to encourage ideas.
- Tolerance of risk to pilot the new.
- Mind Mapping to enable issue finding.
- ‘What if’ techniques to plan the future.
- Framing questions – how might we …?
- Assessing teams for creative styles.
- Assessing ideas for utility.
- Dissemination of solutions and actions.
- Using a creative process.
- Completing the Creative Process
Any creative process that generates ideas and helps to solve problems focuses on two different types of thinking: exploratory and critical. The latter is more prevalent in the workplace than the nonjudgmental freer kind of thinking associated with creativity.
In an activity like problem solving, both kinds of thinking are important. It’s not a case of either or. First, you must analyse the problem, then generate possible solutions, next choosing and implementing the best solution and nally evaluating the effectiveness of the solution. This process alternates between the two kinds of thinking, the exploratory and the critical.
Ros Taylor Company is a corporate leadership and coaching consultancy that will change the way you do business by getting to the heart of your people. We identify hidden talent in your management teams and take you and your most important assets – your staff – on a journey of discovery and enlightenment.