I was recently designing a new Creativity and Innovation training course for business people in Northern Ireland when I had an eureka moment. I was trying to summarise the conditions required to maximise the potential for achieving successful innovation when I realised I could summarise this in 6 words beginning with the letter – C. So here is a summary of my thoughts on the conditions for innovation.
Culture – Innovation should be everyone’s responsibility. Everyone’s contribution is worthy of consideration. The behaviours and attitudes of staff are important in the creativity and innovation processes, particularly as they set the tone for other stakeholders involved in the development of new ideas, products, services, and processes and will impact on the creativity process. Individual Leadership (where people lead and manage themselves in theirjob) and Organisational Leadership (where managers lead in providing the right, safe environment) will increase the likelihood for successful innovation. Finally, environmental components that can increase the potential for successful innovation include: the need to hardwire innovation into an organisational structure so it is part of everyone’s job; the provision of a climate that is accepting of failure; providing the time to enable creativity; a willingness to take risks and ensuring there is the right mix of skills for Creativity and Innovation.
Creativity – Creativity is an essential part of Innovation and is the ability to unleash the mind to develop ideas. This involves moving into the space of lateral thinking at various stages of the Creativity and Innovationprocesses. Positivity and enthusiasm are factors impacting on maximising potential innovative ideas. Positive and enthusiastic people will have a greater ability in creativity to diverse their thinking into the ‘blue sky’ horizon. Creativity requires a mix of skills that serve the functions of divergent and convergent thinking processes.
Collaboration - Taking a user centred approach is essential throughout Creativity and Innovation. Part of the success of providing a tangible innovation is to ensure that it meets the needs of those who are going to use it. Therefore it is imperative that those groups are involved in the overall process. However they are a key player in part of a wider stakeholder group. How you identify, analyse, manage and engage with stakeholders is crucial in optimising successful innovation. At 4D Strategic Consulting we also offer training in Strategic Management. Visit our website for more details - www.4dstrategicconsulting.com
Challenge – Challenging assumptions and ideas at all stages of the Creativity and Innovation processes is a good thing to do. It provides the opportunity for more creative thinking and shows there is a world beyond the ‘what we usually do’ concept. Challenging throughout creativity and innovation can provide a good filter mechanism if required. This is particularly true at the problem definition and the idea generation and development phases.
Critical Thinking – How people think and they type of thinking they apply at different times in the Creativity and Innovation processes is important and needs to be managed. The way in which the initial problem question is defined, the ability of people to think laterally and logically at the right time and which ideas are selected will all impact on the success of any innovation.
Change - The above conditions will serve in providing a platform to assist in enabling the achievement of successful innovation and bringing about positive change.