Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Enforcing Creativity in the Digital Organization

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

Many forward-looking organizations are shifting from the industrial silo mode to interconnected innovation mode. Innovation is a systematic process to transform novel ideas for achieving its business value. Everyone possesses a certain level of creativity. But collectively, how does creativity manifest itself in the workplace? What's the best work environment for creativity? And how to put people at the center of business? Here is the creativity triangle with three vertices in the digital organization.

Culture: Developing creativity is a long-term endeavor. Creativity in the "corporate" world has a lot to do with fostering a creative environment. A culture of creativity must be cultivated. The right kind of mind is the essential feature of real innovation. The collective mindsets shape the culture of the business. Culture must be fostered from the board of directors downwards; otherwise, no real sponsorship takes place. 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 explore opportunities in new and innovative ways. 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. Creative culture is usually outward-looking rather than insular, people are more willing to accept a degree of risks and experimentation, etc. Thus, it is important to create a safe environment for learning from failures. Innovation needs to become your business routine, you have to live it and breathe it every day.

Methodology: Digital workplace is fluid, alive, creative and productive. Organizations need to invest in the cultivation of capacity for innovation. To build a creative working environment, the democratic processes will overtake hierarchical control. Such major remolding or breaking of paradigms means loosening structures and challenging consensus until the new way is adopted and becomes the new structure or paradigm. The scientific methodology is required for achieving high performance, facilitating creativity teams and providing proper creativity tools. In an ideal digital workplace, the organizational structure needs to be solid enough to keep people or things in order; but fluid enough to keep information and idea flow. The most creative digital workplace is the one where collaboration and sharing are the norms. An organization that has a lightweight process to allow ideas to flow, get protected, channeled and nurtured will succeed more often than an organization that has overly rigid processes and functional silos. There are both “hard” factors such as policy, process, performance, and “soft” factors such as culture, leadership, communication to mix together coherently in order to make the digital innovation implementable and sustainable.

People: Innovators often prefer to “do things differently.” Creative people are typically disrespectful of outdated rules, and their creativity is really their way of breaking out of or reframing how we see the world. They have insight and transdisciplinarity to think and work across disciplines and discover better solutions to complex problems. They can ask open questions, identify blind spots or mind gaps. Creativity relates to intelligence, empathy, idealism, and process understanding. Because creativity is both nature and nurtured. Creativity can also be developed based on a triangle with three vertices: altitude, attitude, aptitude. People must enthusiastically participate, get proper empowerment and notice that their initiatives do arrive at the end. Hence, businesses today should spot and recognize their innovators who can rise above the status quo, take on a new set of activities that have them involved in the strategy development process, and maximize the full potential of the digital organization. Great leaders are creative themselves, who can inspire, provoke, empower, and enable talent growth, provide the direction when needed and give others time, space, and freedom to create. They will build up a working environment to nurture creativity, enable dot-connecting activities such as cross-functional communication and collaboration, and encourage the freedom of thinking and action.

Creativity is a long-term endeavor. There’s no one size global solution to develop a creative working environment, but there are certainly significant core principles and common practices to experiment and experience. By gaining an in-depth understanding of the creativity triangle, digital leaders can create a suitable and hybrid (physical + virtual) environment to stimulate creativity, foster innovation, and measure achieved high performance business result effectively.


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