Thursday, March 5, 2015

Artistic Creativity vs. Organizational Creativity

If we change the way we look at things, the way we look at things can change.

At the individual level, the whole creative process can be frustrating because it's so nonlinear. Do you feel an inner urge to be creative? Do you like solving problems in novel ways? Perhaps you like investigating possibilities. Were you born wired for creativity or are you learning creativity as part of a quest to become a well-rounded person? At the organizational level, from an innovation management perspective, is there any best scenario to manage innovation? Can a single model of the process of creativity be a one-size-fits-all solution? What would be the characteristics of an effective model for the domain within which you work?

A proposition regarding the differences in artistic creativity and organizational creativity (innovation and management) may be based on the end result of each process. Individual artistic creativity is an innate and nonlinear activity, the “aha” moment; although creativity cannot be taught, your creativity can be harnessed via continuous practice. However, at an organizational level, a systematic innovation process leads to the development of a project foundation, understanding the challenge, understanding boundaries and hurdles as well as the stakeholders core discipline. Keep it simple for the purpose of calibrating the team while enabling free thinking without judgment.

Creating is usually the easy part. The hard part tends to be coming up with a clear vision or intention for the project. When mastering the vision, the process tends to flow. More information and more development time from the technical staff does not help management make right decisions about innovation since management cannot understand the opportunities offered by the company - adding stiffer processes and upfront data requirements seems to be only in place to deal with management with information overload (lid on the pot). Also, without any resource commitment in justification of objective decision-making, the more information offered to prop up immature ideas becomes ammunition to shoot them down.

Innovation management process needs to be nimble, not rigid: Acknowledge the idea, provide some starter resources (food, people, space), flesh out an idea on competing technologies/complexity, develop it into a more solid form, do impact assessments on integration and environmental/societal changes, and then present back to management in a more well-developed and streamlined vision for further investment. Nurture this culture and its output before stress testing immature ideas. If one wants innovation and then not preparing to make decisions about the value or investment requirements to commercialize it, and instead only requiring outside validation to support idea valuation/investment is just closing the proverbial door after the horse has left the barn.

Innovation is the change, change is not necessarily the innovation. Only 20% of an organization's change management effort is in "hard" innovation such as products or service innovation, and the other 80% is in organizational change/transformation management. After all, you can only transform what you have but to innovate means you have to bring in the new idea, although digital innovation expands its horizon including "soft innovation" such as leadership innovation, communication innovation, and cultural innovation. This also goes with the random verses coherent thoughts from quantum as well. They are in a balance and when one moves to a new level the other plays catch up to match it.

Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues for insight in the creative process: If you consider the creative process, a process of refinement then all challenges, failures or successes are possible outcomes. A positive attitude in the creative process to redefine, reinvent, re-innovate one’s commitment to creativity is key. Perhaps challenges or failures can be considered part of the learning curve. In the art and design practice, the creative problem solving is a process in critical thinking. If you are committed to excellence, then all outcomes are the inspiration for future new developments. It would be helpful to study Benjamin's Franklin's 13 virtues for insight in attitude toward success in the creative process: Humility, Silence, Justice, Temperance, Cleanliness, Moderation, Frugality, Industry, Tranquility, Order, Sincerity, Chastity & Resolution.

Creative people are inspired to think and work nearly every day on creating, they are not waiting for such “Aha” moment, but proactively stimulate the new energy of fresh thinking; at organizational level,  even innovation management processes are systematic, it is also an “anti-status quo” flow, the processes shouldn’t be too rigid to stifle innovation, but have to continually adapt to changes, to leverage the emergent thinking and ride above the learning curve.


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