Sunday, July 23, 2017

Innovation vs. Inclusiveness

Do not just think that diversity is only based on how people look, in fact, the diversity of thought is the gem of creativity.
Creativity is innate with many special ingredients; creativity can be developed if the conditions are right and there is inspiration, inclusiveness, encouragement, and abundance of knowledge. Innovation is then the management discipline to transform those novel ideas and achieve their business value. Many think there is no innovation without inclusiveness. The most advanced societies are diverse mixtures of peoples that can spark creativity and amplify innovation effect. So, how to involve people with different talent in creative thinking and actions? And how can you help to improve the harvest of the creative seed and accelerate the advancement of the society?

The collective creativity depends on varying factors: Being creative is the kind to "think outside the box" for ideas and solutions. The most important characteristic of being creative is to act without fear and let you self-conscious express itself.  But the creative spark does not always originate solely in the individual. In that manner, you could say there is more collective creativity happening everywhere than many stops to realize. Would a diverse group of people come up with a more out-of-box idea/solution than a group of identical people? Whether the group of people has an amplified creative ability depends on varying factors such as different intent (positive vs. negative), different talent trait (compliant vs. creative), different working styles (enforcement vs collaboration), different outcomes (disharmony vs. harmony). In reality, a group of people does not always make creativity blossom. You can get a diverse group of people together in one room and still not have "creativity" if the participating individuals are not particularly creative. What matters is how creative are the individuals, and how open is the working environment. One of the aspects of creativity is the environment where individuals or groups need to generate creative results regularly and frequently. Generally speaking, an inclusive working environment with open leadership can stimulate creativity, amplify creativity effect, and nurture innovation success.

The collective creativity can be developed via enforcing divergent thinking and convergent thinking and practicing multi-dimensional thinking scenario: Creativity is a combination of divergent and convergent thinking. It’s best to bring a group of people together with the cognitive difference such as different backgrounds, capabilities, strengths etc., together in order to encourage divergent thinking because the team needs to go divergent to explore the space (alternative, diverse ideas via open-ended and contextual inquiry.) Then during synthesis, while the team is analyzing the "problems," it will better go more convergent to really hone in on the "why." Once you figure out what the true problems are and ready to ideate that needs to leverage divergent thinking as well. Finally, when down-selecting ideas and eventually prototyping that would take more convergent thinking. From the innovation management perspective to a certain degree, the process to transform a novel idea to the business value, is a combination of divergent and convergent thinking, the systematic and synthetic processes.

Inclusiveness is an excellent engine for creativity, although it does not necessarily mean it’s the only success factor to spur innovation: It is a facilitator for merging significant building blocks of new and existing ideas and concepts. It is important for a creative team to have people who do not have the same view of the small part of the world that the team is dealing with so that they can complement with each other’s viewpoint. When people leave the inside box thoughts and standards to seek additional knowledge and experience, they are stepping outside that box into unfamiliar territory. We all should broaden our points of interest and try new things to extend our thinking box. Diversity in the people you socialize with can provide you with new perspectives on life and possibly work as well.

Create a fearless and inclusive working environment to spur creativity. Do not just think that diversity is only based on how people look, in fact, the diversity of thought is the gem of creativity. Develop an insightful understanding of fit vs. misfit, diversity vs. inclusiveness, inclusiveness vs. innovation. Encourage thinking differently, by generating scenarios where there is no one solution to one problem, but rather to construct an event where the individual inputs must compound and build upon each other - you can observe a creative result that was beyond the capacity of any one individual. And the collective creativity becomes the business competency. The inclusive organization is more successful and is always going to be more creative as it has more to draw on. That leads to a better mutual understanding and more advanced society among all humans.


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