Monday, October 06, 2008

Creativity and the Role of the Leader
Your organization could use a bigger dose of creativity. Here’s what to do about it.
by Teresa M. Amabile and Mukti Khaire
HBR, Reprint: R0810G

This is a great article that delves into the critical role of leadership in driving creativity and therefore growth in their companies. I strongly recommend reading the full article.

Creativity has always been at the heart of business, but until now it hasn’t been at the top of the management agenda. By definition the ability to create something novel and appropriate, creativity is essential to the entrepreneurship that gets new businesses started and that sustains the best companies after they have reached global scale. But perhaps because creativity was considered unmanageable—too elusive and intangible to pin down—or because concentrating on it produced a less immediate payoff than improving execution, it hasn’t been the focus of most managers’ attention.
A summary is:

A Manager’s Guide to Increasing Innovation
If you’re trying to enhance creativity...

...remember that you are not the sole fount of ideas.
Be the appreciative audience.
Ask the inspiring questions.
Allow ideas to bubble up from the workforce.

...enable collaboration.
Combat the lone inventor myth.
Define “superstar” as someone who helps others succeed.
Use “coordination totems”—metaphors, analogies, and stories—to help teams conceptualize together.

...enhance diversity.
Get people with different backgrounds and expertise to work together.
Encourage individuals to gain diverse experiences that will increase their creativity.
Open up the organization to outside creative contributors. the stages of creativity and tend to their different needs.
Avoid process management in the fuzzy front end.
Provide sufficient time and resources for exploration.
Manage the handoff to commercialization.

...accept the inevitability and utility of failure.
Create psychological safety to maximize learning from failure.
Recognize the different kinds of failure and how they can be useful.
Create good mechanisms for filtering ideas and killing dead-end projects.

...motivate with intellectual challenge.
Protect the front end from commercial pressure.
Clear paths through the bureaucracy for creative ideas.
Let people do “good work.”
Show the higher purpose of projects whenever possible.
Grant as much independence as possible.

1 comment:

Bob Cooper said...

This is a great comment from Mark Podwysocki of AkzoNobel:

The Economist published an article on Oct 2nd 2008 profiling Akzo Nobel Chairman Hans Wijers as the “The specialty generalist”. It stuck me that the article was suggesting that innovation in business need not only be done by specialists but can be led by generalists with a strong vision. It also helps to have broad experience with good credentials and experience but also relying on the guidance of “specialists who know much more than you”. This is seems to be the essence of the article you sent on the blog.