Where do you start when you want something new? Whether the aim is just an improvement, a small incremental change or something more unique, disruptive and breakthrough, the start will probably determine where you end up. Do you start jotting down ideas? Do you grab a whiteboard and Post-Its, get a few people in the room, and start brainstorming?
Creative leadership is rich with paradoxes. Creative leaders are driven by their internal passion and purpose, yet they also have an externally oriented, explorative mindset. Creative leaders lead from the front by envisioning a better future, pointing the way and setting an aspiration, yet they achieve this by orchestrating a creative team, often leading from behind to bring out the best in others.
There are incredible opportunities today to bring new things into the world. It is the hallmark of the creative artist to create something that did not exist before, but this generative capacity is not limited to creative artists. Entrepreneurs and corporations conceive and create new products, services and platforms that would not have existed but for their efforts. Our increasingly complex and volatile world needs this creative ability now more than ever, especially in our leaders.
The terms creative leadership and innovation leadership are being used more and more. Creative qualities in leaders are nowadays greatly desired, say research surveys: Lack of creativity is seen as the most serious shortcoming in new hires reports the Economist’s Global Talent Index Report 2012 and creativity is seen as the most important leadership quality in a 2012 study of IBM under over 1,500 CEO’s. So, what is Creative Leadership and what is sparking this interest in it?
There are four different types of innovation tools that we’ll describe here, including the design of the work place itself, practices that encourage and even enable effective collaboration, open innovation approach to connect inside innovation teams with outside partners and experts, and online tools that constitute the virtual work place. Separately and especially together, these can make a tremendous enhancement in the performance and the satisfaction of individuals, teams, and your entire organization.
In the disciplined and structured process of innovation we search for unmet needs and unfulfilled desires, and when we think we find them we have to construct a sort of a mental map that defines why our proposed solution will be better than whatever currently exists. We may use the business model map to show how we’re using this innovation to move up and to the right, or we may use the customer value ladder to show how this innovation provides differentiated value. And once we’re convinced that our idea is a really good one, the next step is often prototyping.
In today’s crowded marketplace a new product is only as good as its packaging and marketing campaigns. How can you make it stand out from the competition? How can you update the design of your product without alienating your customer? The new book “Creative Anarchy: How to Break the Rules of graphic Design for Creative Success” provides ideation techniques and creative tools to push boundaries and expectations while preserving the function and message of the design.
Stanford Prof. Tina Seelig discusses how motivation and experimentation are essential for creativity. She also shows how true problem-solvers and entrepreneurs utilize whatever is within reach to overcome obstacles, and then quickly prototype, rather than let challenges stand in the way of a solution.
Innovation appears prominently as part of almost any company’s strategy. Why then is it so hard to make it repeatable, scalable and lasting success? Scholars name key elements that bring innovation in sync, such as leadership, strategy and governance. Often, though, it’s not what organizations aren’t doing that causes a problem, but what they are doing—they’re tripping themselves up.
Have you seen this equation: innovative = creative? Novelty always comes from “outside the box,” right? It’s a land of confusion to many, who then conclude they are just not the creative type. As a result, organizations lose out because being innovative is but one of a myriad of ways to being creative. All people can be creative—in their own way.
As a company grows, its creativity typically tends to decrease. What can be done to prevent a decrease in creativity within an organization?
Real innovation will starts with your company culture. Your shared values will help your business grow while stale company culture can sink you entirely. Your company culture can change in subtle ways over time but there are many ways to keep your infrastructure on task and in line with your overall mission. Simply stated, a good company culture drives innovation.
Creative thinking can be trained, and an environment for innovation can be purposefully built. Often plagued by a sense of urgency and pressure the modern office does not appear to be the ideal incubation opportunity for innovation – and yet there are strategies that can be used to defy the odds. So just how do we maximise the brain’s neurological capabilities in the midst of the busy contemporary working environment?
You love your employees, and, obviously, you think they do awesome work, or else you probably wouldn’t have hired them. Yet, do you ever find yourself wishing they could become a little bit more innovative? After all, the companies that are thriving in today’s competitive marketplace are also some of the most creative.
Looking for new solutions, we brainstorm a lot. Getting together to generate new ideas for urgent challenges. And when it’s done professionally we even get a lot of ideas. But are they our best ones? That’s the question. Brainstorming is under a lot of criticism these days. Is this tool giving us the best ideas possible? Do we do it the right way?