Thursday, July 21, 2016

Creative Tension: When you See it, Do You Know it?

You can feel creative tension when you sense the freedom to be creative, the harmony not via compliance only, but through brainstorming.

Digital is the age of innovation. Creativity is, by nature, unique to each person. There is no template which you can apply and suddenly have a creative workforce or manage innovation without hassles. That is why so many companies won't do it. However, in competing for the long run and focus on the top line business growth, building a creative workforce and master at innovation management should be put at the top of the business agenda for every forward-thinking business executive and talent manager. In practice, to "smell" creativity, do you know what’s the “expression” of an innovative culture? Creative tension - When you see it, do you know it?

Stepping out of comfort zone effortlessly: As we all know the only "Certainty" or a "Constant" is "CHANGE." Business is only an extended part of our life and all businesses have to accept the change to survive. Uncertainty per se is not a problem, it poses a risk for those who have a fixed mindset and creates opportunities for those with a growth mindset. The fact is that people's belief system on a subconscious level is slowly "adjust" to a new set of principles rather than the conscious level. In any case, behavioral change in organizations happens on a group level and a person's "resistance" is just the symptom of an "organizational allergy" to the loss of the previously set operational equilibrium. Innovation becomes possible only if people can step out of their comfort zone. In fact, innovative solutions often come from the floor and not the ceiling. Therefore, organizations need to support the process of improvisation, and organizational leaders should have the “sense & sensitivity” to read the culture expression - have you seen the creative tension through the abundance of digital flow: information flow, mind flow, and talent flow, and can you help employees step out of their comfort zone to be who they really are, and build a culture of authenticity to encourage idea sharing and risk-taking, but discourage unprofessional competitions and negativity?

Ask open questions to explore new possibilities frequently: To spark creativity, your digital workforce with heterogeneous team-setting includes all sorts of thinkers: creative thinker, critical thinker, systems thinker, holistic thinker, etc. They would complement each other’s thought processes and amplify the collective human capabilities. You can feel creative tension when you sense the freedom to be creative, the harmony not via compliance only, but through idea-sharing. People make creative communication often by asking open questions to explore new possibilities. Creative Thinkers live out of the box, ask open questions such as “Why Not,” or “What If,” to collect relevant information. And Critical Thinkers are always chasing root cause by asking the big 'WHY' questions without too rushing up into HOW. They gain in-depth understanding by asking the right questions and open for varying answers. They not only ask the right questions but rather absorb information forecast potentials; risks/benefits; mitigation and compare and contrast options, facts, ideas against logic and creativity.

Deal with innovation dilemmas strategically: Modern businesses operate in such a complex and uncertain dynamic ecosystem, the business leaders and professionals have to understand the creative tension, handle management paradox and deal with innovation dilemmas strategically. You can sense the creative tension when the balance is made and the cohesive strategy is achieved. Often innovative leaders have to take a balanced approach to maintains coherence while allowing autonomy; maintains a balance between exploration and exploitation; compensates short-term and short-range attention of daily operations, with a long-term broad-range vision that could steer the organization towards the right direction through uncharted water and blurred digital territories. A mindful or thoughtful leader has a better perception to deal with complex issues and manage innovation, upon thinking profoundly, and upon striking the right balance without any sort of extreme thinking or bias. Innovation is about thinking differently, acting differently, delivering differently, adding value differently from the status quo. Innovation requires thinking beyond, as opposed to outside the box, altering or changing the frame of reference to create previously unconsidered solutions.   

Build a culture of innovation and encourage free thinking and experimenting. Part of creating an organizational environment that facilitates creativity involves paying attention to employee well-being and building individual emotional intelligence to generate more positive emotions and reducing unnecessary organizational pressures, have the right dose of creative tension and healthy competition to spark innovation. Metaphorically, the company is like a ship, the sea is the environment, the old world is the past, and the new world is the future. You don't have many choices but to change your sails to move forward; You cannot go back to the old world as it is the ship going to the new world (the digital era), and the only way to get there is by using change techniques and leveraging innovation mechanism. If you stagnate, you don't grow and your company doesn't grow. It is the responsibility of each leader to examine themselves and to make sure they are open to true understanding and explore the digital adventure boldly.


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