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Creativity: The spice of innovation

Companies’ successful innovations are the result of an integrated culture and a discipline that boosts creativity at many levels of the business.

 

Creativity is a key ingredient in every innovation process. Nevertheless, an innovative and disruptive idea is not the result of a group of employees who choose random creative concepts. Nor is it the result of taking the lead in launching an original idea.

 

Many companies tend to confuse creative processes with the implementation of disorganized techniques to generate group ideas. They do not have any kind of restriction or procedure. That is why they make mistakes and launch innovations onto the market that end in failure.

 

Adam Grant at a conference for Ted Talks: The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers, cites a study of over 50 products categories. In this study, organizations that took the first step and created the market (First Movers) are compared with those that introduced something different or better (Improvers).

The failure rate of the First Movers is of 47%, while that of the Improvers is of 8%.

In other words, to be creative and go to market first is not enough. You need a process that ensures that the most creative ideas are successful and adds value to the client.

It may interest you

In our article: ‘Mistakes Companies Make When Trying to Innovate’ explains the main reasons that lead companies to make these mistakes. (Read this article).

The Foundations for Generating Creative Ideas

There should be several requirements when generating creative ideas. They act as a lever for ideas to become great innovations. To do so, the following is necessary:

  • A good knowledge base
  • Constant curiosity
  • Commitment to high performance standards
  • To allow and allow one-self to doubt about everything
  • To set perceptions aside that may limit reasoning
  • The search for underlying problems or beyond the obvious ones
  • Experimenting to the greatest possible extent
  • Active listening and constructive criticism
  • Freedom, but with responsibility

In the light of all the above, we can find several methods that help organizations to develop creative processes to innovate.

 

These methods alone will not achieve anything if organizations do not adapt their corporate structure and culture to the innovation process.

 

However, when integrated into a well-designed structure, ideas can be generated and we can filter and choose the best solutions to the problems.

Light bulbs with cables and requirements for creativity

Additionally, some organizations use innovation management systems such as Design Thinking, which includes creative methods that help to generate ideas or solve problems, such as:

 

⇒ El Brainstorming

⇒ Six Thinking Hats (related to lateral thinking)

⇒ Synectics

⇒ Synapse

⇒ List of attributes

⇒ Morphological analysis

⇒ Nominal Group

⇒ The Delphos (Delphi) method

 

In the article “Brainstorming and Six Thinking Hats: Creativity to innovate” I explain some of these methodologies in detail.

Key Creative Capabilities in an Innovative Organization

Companies should be ready to implement innovative processes and creative methods efficiently. To do this, they should integrate certain essential capabilities in their DNA for innovation.

 

Linda Hill – Professor at Harvard Business School – explained inHow to manage for collective creativity of Ted Talks, that there are three important capabilities in innovating organizations: creative abrasion, creative agility and creative resolution.

Creative abrasion consists of being able to create a marketplace of ideas through debate and discourse. Unlike many other techniques, ideas judgement is not suspended or postponed, but differences are amplified by means of constructive arguments. You learn how to inquire, to listen and to advocate for your point of view to create more alternatives.

Creative agility delves into experimentation.  It is about to test and refine a portfolio of ideas through quick pursuit, reflection and adjustment. It is necessary to do a series of experiments and not a series of pilots, because you learn from experiments, even from mistakes. This is exactly the point: to discover.

Creative resolution seeks to make decisions combining even opposing ideas. This way, ideas are reconfigured in new combinations to produce a solution that is new and useful. Here, no group or individual dominates, nor solutions benefit any specific group.

For the company to integrate these capabilities, the commitment of everyone is needed. Employees should be able to solve collaborative problems, they should learn based on discovery and commit to make integrated decisions.

 

If the organization integrates creative capabilities and key requirements to generate ideas, the implementation of any creative method will be simpler. The necessary foundations will already be laid to start a good innovation process, based on its key ingredient: creativity.

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