Friday, April 10, 2015

How to Build and Measure Workplace Creativity

Creativity is a “domain” contextualized competency.

In recent years, creativity has become a very highly valued skill. Creative people combine existing possibilities to reach more often unexpected solutions. Creativity is an essential building block for innovation in business. Everyone possesses a certain level of creativity; some just have more than others. How does creativity manifest itself in the workplace? What's the best work environment for creativity? What products (tangible or otherwise) are creative? Where that creativity arises from. And what acts, behaviors, etc. may be examples of the organizational creative process? What risks are associated with creativity not being manifested in the workplace? How might you see a creative employee?

Creativity is a “domain” contextualized competency: Let’s face it, most businesses are interested in visible results; then first needed is a tool to assess how creative the business (or employee, department or product, etc.) is. Next, specific strategies can be put in place that target the areas identified as "lacking" in creativity. Finally, a tool could be used again to "measure" improvements. Coping strategies for the mundane, painful, stressful, tiring, challenging or competitive nature of many working environments requires developing often elaborate routines in order to weave some form of personal creative narrative through their day-to-day existence. People have to be given the opportunity to be creative, they have to become empowered. Business leaders obviously aware that a quantitative measure would not be a perfect solution, but the importance of creativity for organizations is well-known, yet there is no adequate way of assessing the concept in the workplace. Creativity in the workplace is fundamentally about the mental production of new ideas - not just any new ideas, but the creation of ideas that are both original and valuable. Everyone has the ability to create, but creativity is an inherent ability that cannot be taught, only developed. In fact, those who aren't creative find it almost alien to be creative. Possessing the ability of creative foresight is not a skill that everyone possesses. After researching what happens when business managers use lateral thinking, the requirement that creativity in the workplace also requires the deliberate creation of original and valuable ideas when they are needed - they need to be created on-demand.

The innovators are likely to make a change to the structure for better problem solving: The way we manage structure (the paradox of structure, actually) has a marked impact on how we deal with problems and the types of solutions we envisage. The workplace needs to be designed to help employees at all levels within an organization (from leaders to front-line) understand and develop their creative capacity to solve problems and exploit opportunities in new and innovative ways, the tool utilizes cutting-edge narrow band psychometrics to diagnose, assess and train the core four factors of creativity: namely, cognitive processes, personality, motivation, and confidence. The more innovative the employees are, the less tolerant of structure (policies, rules, and paradigms) and less respectful of consensus one is. Innovators often prefer to “do things differently” and such major remolding or breaking of paradigms means loosening structure and challenging consensus until the new way is adopted and becomes the new structure or paradigm. Innovators are likely to make a change to the current structure (from within which the problem emerged) in order to solve it. They then make further changes as an outcome of using the solution.

There are two types of measurement of creativity: The problem for building a creative workplace which is being able to create a measure that assesses the different dimensions of organizational creativity adequately while keeping it general enough to assess this in a wide range of organizations and job roles. Generally speaking, there are two types of measurement: the first type of measurement of creativity in the workplace is through the results, the outcomes of creative thoughts and actions. What value have those new things designed and implemented (products, services, processes, business models) brought to customers or users? There are various metrics for this - the number of patents, new products, R&D spends, etc. The second type of assessment is through the innovation drivers, the elements that enhance an organization's innovation capacity. For measuring such, there must be an appreciation for the organization of the sources of creativity as well as the structures and cultures that will promote innovation. Talent, the individual, and teamwork are important, so are strategies, systems, and processes, so are the freedom and a capacity for risk-taking. Innovation management in the workplace is a multi-dimensional pursuit.

Even without formal assessment, one can see that at creative organizations, people are encouraged and given the time resources to work on new things that excite them, all are required to produce new ideas, people are often trained in creative methods and techniques, the business model is often challenged, everyone has a personal creativity objective at work and there is much humor to go around.


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