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What Makes an Organisation Creative?

Creativity drives innovation and change at a rapid pace. Its reach and impact on our everyday lives is enormous, yet, most of this innovation within organisations derives from a handful of people we call ‘creatives.’ Most of us have little grasp of the power of creativity; how it can be used to inspire, transform and unlock existing resources and potential within organisations.

Two core beliefs sit at the heart of this resistance.

  1. The belief: ‘I am not creative’. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, renown for his work on ‘Flow’, pioneered a sociological model of creativity, which, in short, proves, that most creativity emerges from supportive environments, rather than a single Eureka moment.
  2. A lack of understanding about what creativity is. Orgnisations bring in drummers, jugglers, chocolate makers, poets, and performers to inspire and motivate staff, hoping the experience will inject creativity into team building teams, brand/marketing innovation, or enable employees to manage corporate change. These sorts of interventions are good fun at best, but, in terms of consolidating staff skills and approaches, they rarely offer insights or long term impact.

People Capabilities, Inspire Creativity

Creativity is connected to people’s sense of confidence, agency and identity. The best creative organisations develop and embed creative approaches in their leadership and values. People who feel creatively confident are more resourceful and resilient; they are more likely to innovate, challenge and take ownership.

In her work on creative organisations, Therese Amabile (1), identified how successful organisations provided a ‘supportive’ environment through leadership which encourages and enables:

  • Intrinsic motivation – meaning
  • Appropriate challenge (unlocking staff potential/knowing people)
  • Autonomy (how to pursue a task/rather than what to pursue)
  • Diverse teams
  • Encouragement – people and processes
  • Supervisory Encouragement – acceptance, trust, values and processes
  • Appropriate resources

Developing and embedding creativity within an organisation is not a question of time and resources but of your approach. This sits at the heart of our approach to helping organisations unlock their potential.

1 How to Kill Creativity, by Theresa Amabilie

If You Only Do One Thing… Get to know your team. Ask what talents/abilities they put to good use outside the office, but don’t bring to work.

People Capabilities – without good people, where would you be?

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