Creativity for organisations

Wednesday, 24 November 2010 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Creativity plays an ever-increasing role in organisations as they strive for a continuous flow of success through innovations. This is a response to the pressures associated with globalisation, competition, economic recession, etc.

People define innovation and creativity in various ways using powerful words, but I would like to keep it very simple by saying ‘using creativity is adding value’. Value can be added in any form, economic, social and cultural, or psychological. After all, there is no innovation without creativity.

Especially in an era where businesses move faster and use improved systems, processes and technology, they need creative employees who can synergise the future and take the organisation one step forward. Because, the business context is not merely local, it’s rather global.

Unless you grow with the world, your business will be isolated in the ever growing competition. Increased competition means that businesses have to be on their toes in order to stay ahead; the only way to do that is through applying creative solutions, new ideas into the processes on which the company walks its journey at present.

Creativity is nothing more than thinking out of the box! It is going beyond the current boundaries and limitations. Those limitations can be technological, knowledge, skill, attitudes, current practices, social norms, or beliefs. Those who find ways to overcome all these will be able to build new relationships and open up new avenues of success for organisations. Creativity is a powerful tool that can improve the performance of an organisation

Is creativity a personality trait?

This is a topic that is being vastly discussed around the world. No, it is not a personality trait, every living; breathing human being has the potential to be creative. All people can be creative but those who are recognised as being creative have an awareness that others don’t.

“Creativity is not a gift of some sort; it is a state of being”. Creativity can be very self-rewarding. In fact, it can be so rewarding that you could spend hours, weeks, or even years in turning the dream into reality.

Benefits for organisations

Organisations have a staff of people with different backgrounds and experiences; they have the capability of contributing to the growth of the organisation. The creativity will take the monotony of routine work away from the companies. It will block the way to stress and let the employees look at things in newer angles which results interesting problem solving methods.

Organisations where people’s ideas are constantly encouraged and honoured do not have to worry over retention strategies such as bonuses, because people do not want to leave such companies. The younger generation today is more concerned about the space that is given for their ideas in companies. They do not get satisfied by being in the same position for a period of time despite the amount that is being paid to them.

Creativity can be converted into a competitive advantage. Because creativity is intangible, comes from human assets which cannot be stolen or copied by the competitors.  The generation of ideas and transferring them into policies and processor will take the clerks into the next level.

That is how most of the business leaders in our country were born. Give your ideas an opportunity to become an action. May be that is the time your dream comes true.  A small idea can be very valuable and cost effective when it is measured over time.

On the other hand, creativity of one employee may threaten the performance of the other members of the staff and it will lead them to improve their talents and performance. There will be a healthy competition amongst the staff which automatically contributes to the growth of the company. Such organisations attract better staff who eagerly share your progressive corporate values.

Management and staff members become more self-motivated to experiment and develop new things (products, services and systems) and solve problems.

Creativity makes the process of change easier and more focused, allowing for development of more efficient and streamlined operations.

Creative companies have:

  • A greater self confidence, pride and self management and motivation
  • Team spirit, more fun and less stress
  • Increased ability to sense and respond to change and thus manage the future
  • Better management of uncertainty
  • Everyone involved in producing ideas, sharing knowledge and breaking organisational barriers.
  • Innovative products that customers want!

How to promote creativity in work place

A creative environment is required in organisations more than providing rewards and incentives to employees today. It will definitely benefit the company. Thus, it is worth making a few simple changes and start harnessing the creative side of your employees.

  • You should value new ideas “Listen to anyone with an original idea, no matter how silly it may sound at first. Create an open culture. You should believe the fact that brilliant ideas are never perfect. They have enough and more room for growth.
  • Leaders play a critical role in encouraging creativity through goal setting. Goal setting provides employees a purpose for what they do. Setting creativity goals, therefore, can help increase motivation to participate in (and sustain) creative tasks.
  • Encourage, trust and help people to share ideas and information.
  • Have weekly brainstorming meetings.
  • Make a suggestion box. Sometimes people do not spell their ideas out because they are either shy or afraid to be open.
  • Train people in creative thinking techniques. All what you need is to spend on a qualified, experienced management consultant.
  • Celebrate successes and learn from failures. Get rid of rules and routines you don’t need (may be you do not have to work 9-5)

Once the organisation has successfully attracted and selected the required creative individuals, the next challenge is to develop and sustain creativity in the workplace.

Obstacles to creativity

One of the potential obstacles to creativity that exist in an organisation is negative workload pressures. Employees who are held to strict deadlines are less likely to be creative.

Leaders removing obstacles from employees’ creative efforts will also help generate time and resources that encourage creativity. It is very important for employees to feel the support of supervisors/leaders in order to sustain the creative effort.

Individuals come into organisations hoping to perform at high levels, to try new things, to excel and use their creative talent. However, rigid work policies and practices often drive creativity out of the organisational environment. Thus organisations should develop the creativity that people bring into the job while monitoring them closely.

(The writer is the Managing Director and CEO, McQuire Rens Group of Companies. He has held regional responsibilities of two multinational companies of which one was a Fortune 500 company. He carries out consultancy assignments and management training in Dubai, India, Maldives, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. He is a much sought-after business consultant and corporate management trainer in Sri Lanka.)

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