Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Principles and Practices to Encourage Creativity

The solution to encourage creativity is to maximize use of employee brainpower.

As businesses get more cut-throat in the face of fierce competitions and unprecedented changes, this puts stress on the labor force that is not conducive to creative, experimental thinking. As a business leader, what are the common solutions to encourage creativity? Will you allow people to make mistakes? Spend time on something with no guarantee of ROIs? Work on what interests them? Which type of work activities, roles, industries, require great deals of creativity? How do you, as leaders involve all people in creative thinking and actions? And how can you help improve the harvest of the creative seeds? Doesn't the real solution to innovation, creativity begin with inquiry? Would it not be prudent to focus on ensuring all levels of the organization are well founded on asking learning questions?

The solution to encourage creativity is to maximize use of employee brainpower. This mindset will build on the wisdom. It’s the wow moment where the light bulb in your brain turns on to realize your brilliance as an individual / as a leader. Creativity has a language, but it is altogether different from the one found in the business environment. Generally speaking, you must allow room for failure, for tangents, for "being different." Every person has an unknown amount of creativity, innovation, and productivity as well as an unknown amount of intelligence, knowledge, experience, and energy. All of these come from the brain. How much of this brainpower employees will unleash on their work depends almost totally on the leadership and corporate culture. But most businesses value monoculture. Creativity is a long-term endeavor. It must be cultivated, but most businesses measure success at the end of every growth cycle. The leadership exercises a key role in the careful planning of activities to build the interdisciplinary nature of the team, to promote collective creativity while maintaining the high tension of the group to the new, the easy-going projects, the belief that operate according to the trajectory of human progress and to be able to contribute to their professional effort.

The best way to foster creativity is to help people communicate in a way that instills confidence, not fear. Creativity is an individual activity. It is, by nature, unique to each person. There is no template that you can apply and suddenly has a creative workforce. It must be done slowly, patiently, and individually. That is why so many companies won't do it. Allow autonomy, let people choose how and on what they work. At organizational level, collective creativity needs to be orchestrated via building a culture with following characteristics:
- Create a safe environment for learning from failure
- Provide intellectual challenge to stimulate thinking and help people make progress
-Foster integrity, trust, and transparency
- Encourage curiosity and a growth mindset
-Make people feel more comfortable with chaos, uncertainty, and ambiguity
-Encourage people to question the status quo
-Create an environment that encourages dissent and candor
- Allow time for play and experimentation
- Establish clear, shared goals

Create a 'Centre of Excellence for Creativity' to harness innovation: It is a virtual team, consisting of a specified number with the diversity of thought and experience. Managers are nominated by this team from various functions for a specific period, and they work on this team in addition to their regular responsibilities. This team has a leader who is also at a rotating position. This team works with various ideas and makes a regular presentation to the management on successes achieved; it provokes, supports, provides direction when needed & give others time, space and freedom to create. A "CoE" of Innovation helps create:
- A "place" to expand their knowledge
- A chance to apply their ideas
-A recognition for the ideas
- No embedding behavior in the office
-Build a collaboration culture in company

Encourage Diversity of thought and non-egalitarian review. The best way to end up where everybody else is, is to follow the majority guidance on where to go at every turn. Another way to say this is: if someone is telling you that they have a map to your destination, then you can be certain that you will not arrive at any place new. Organizations need to allow time for a number of different 'creative' activities or opportunities to suit different types of people. In the same way, that people have different 'learning' styles, they also have different innovation styles. Creativity is a synthesis of two qualities: imagination with which you create new ideas and the concreteness with which you can transform ideas into real works. Some of us are mostly imaginative, other practical: very small number of people possess both qualities in equal. It is possible to build creative groups in which, under the guidance of a charismatic leader, visionary people work together synergistically with practical people to achieve collective creativity.

Applying the principle such as “Innovation as a Top Priority” to talent management practices: If an organization believes ' Innovation as a process of value creation,' and ensures that people are aligned to this belief, the chances of success increases substantially. First, people who are being considered for elevation or promotion must have a minimum score for 'Creativity' through a well-designed assessment and evaluation process. Second, every individual who is promoted to a per-designated level must compulsorily go through a training program on 'Creativity and Innovation,' before taking up the responsibility of the new position. Lastly, as a part of the onboarding process, every new employee must go through a training program on 'Innovation.' In a highly innovative environment, leaders can focus on vision/mission/ top-goals/budgets and on leading (for real) – and will stand out stronger. Managers can focus on managing only what is important and relevant to the results, and will be able to focus and deliver maximum results/information (both up/down and down/up) without being stressed out. People can use their full potential in a stress-free and truly co-operative environment.

There is not a global or universal solution to building innovation and creativity at the organizational level. It’s business leaders’ responsibility to establish an environment with a high-risk tolerance, where people can grow and develop, be curious and creative without fear. It’s about management that can strike the right balance between increasing productivity and encouraging innovation; between setting standard and let “out-of-box” thinking flow; between risk management and risk tolerance; between discovering the new way to do things and “we always do things like that;” and it’s about optimizing control and improving working pleasure. It is a journey to climb the mountain also enjoy the scenes.


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