Saturday, September 16, 2017

Three Practices to Build Creative Workplaces and Workforce

The creative workplace is based on a triangle with three vertices: culture, method, and people.

People are always the most important business asset and investment, but also one of the weakest links in organizations. The important perspective of digital transformation is to put people at the center of the business, and to both engage employees and delight customers. One of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to new digital structures is the development level of the people, build a creative workplace and innovative workforce.   


Provide intellectual challenge and help people make continuous progress: At traditional organizations with command and control management style, employee engagement is very low, people fear to step out of the comfort zone and adapt to changes, even worst, creativity is discouraged and mediocrity gets the reward. They are simply not motivated (get the stick, not carrot) to be either change agents or innovators. To build a highly innovative organization, business executives must be innovative leaders who have growth mindset themselves and have the wisdom to recognize their talented employees. When organizational leaders value the contributions of each individual, understand and encourage the career aspirations of each person in the team, the likelihood of information sharing increases, the individual’s personal goal is aligned with the strategic business goal, the business potential can be unlocked and the long-term performance can be accelerated. People have to be given the opportunity to be creative, they have to become empowered. Surely empowerment doesn’t mean to make people cozy or just softening their words. In fact, today’s digital workforces are knowledge workers with technology savvy, it is important to provide the intellectual challenge, to stimulate multidimensional thinking, encourage creative problem-solving, tolerate calculated risks, and discourage negative emotions or unhealthy competitions. In an ideal digital working environment, self-motivated leaders, teams, and employees have the passion for challenging themselves, advancing their thinking ability, making things happen, catalyzing changes, discover the innovative way to do things, streamline business transformation scenario, build on organizational knowledge and respond to rapidly changing conditions effortlessly.


Help people feel more comfortable with chaos, uncertainty, and ambiguity: Due to the fast pace of changes, digital workplace today needs to become dynamic and informative, help people feel more comfortable about the “VUCA” digital new normal. The digital workplace will be shaped by changes that take place in the way people relate to themselves and to their experience of their environment and others around them. Make sure the work environment encourages creativity and collaborative thinking, help employees at all levels within an organization, from top leaders to front-line employees, understand and develop their creative capacity to solve problems and exploit opportunities in new and innovative ways. Try to digitally connect key resources and assets in the context of the idea of reaching innovation hubs and clusters across the digital ecosystem. In doing so, you can create the shared context for learning, co-creating, and cross-pollination for new ideas. To continuously innovate within organizations, individuals and groups need to connect and communicate more openly, easily and effectively. From there, they need to work together efficiently on implementing ideas to deliver value.


Create a safe environment for learning from failure: No one likes failure, but failure is the nature of the innovation. Thus, it is important to create a safe environment for learning from failures. As the cost of inability to bring it a new idea to a successful conclusion is extremely high, even if the reasons are the culture of the organization itself - the least effective culture at fostering a digital workplace is traditional command and control environments. Most organizations are not forgiving of failures. Thus, to build a creative workplace, it’s important in findings into common cultural characteristics associated with technology adoption and use. Creative culture is usually outward-looking rather than insular, people are more willing to accept a degree of risks and experimentation, etc. Employees should be encouraged to think out of the box, take reasonable risks, go beyond their defined roles and demonstrate their intellectual capabilities to bring positive changes. If the company does not understand the failure, then there will be no innovation. Without building a culture with risk-tolerance, not only innovations wane in the process, the people championing it are suffocated and are rendered, unable to try again, so the rest do "learn" from it and never dare to try. Hence, it is important to set a tone from the top that being innovative is the digital fit mindset, and failure is OK if only you can learn something from it, avoid repetitive mistakes and become more creative.


The creative work is based on a triangle with three vertices: culture, method, and people. And a creative person can also be developed based on a triangle with three vertices: altitude, attitude, aptitude. Because creativity is both nature and nurtured. To build a creative working environment,  the democratic processes will overtake hierarchical control, and that culture will become a more fundamental organizational asset. They need to emphasize participation, relationships, communication, and realize that they will need to renew themselves periodically to cope effectively with change and have a fluid structure that encourages idea brainstorming and implementation.

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