News & Views
Innovation Through Creativity< Back
In today’s highly competitive world, success in business depends less on knowledge of what exists and increasingly on one’s ability to innovate; to champion creative hubs of excellence, where we can create the unimaginable.
Creativity and innovation go hand-in-hand. Creativity being the mental process of developing an idea. Innovation takes those ideas and makes them happen. We have entered into a new creative economy with a recent survey by IBM of more than 1500 CEOs reported that creativity is the single most important leadership competency for enterprises. As the creative economy evolves and knowledge no longer gives companies the competitive advantage, creative workers have started to replace knowledge workers and everyone within the organization now gets the opportunity to drive innovation.
As you can imagine, the role of the manager also changes in today’s modern organization. The job now becomes more about creating and fostering a fertile environment for creativity and building systems to keep it healthy as well as keeping an eye out for things that undermine it.
Inspired by the most innovative companies in the world, we have created the Five Rules for Creativity for Managers who want to break boundaries to be innovators in their industry.
- Nurture Diversity – Studies continue to prove that the most innovative products and services emerge when people connect ideas from entirely different contexts. Creativity managers choose to build a team of individual minds that are diverse. It doesn’t matter about their sex, color or creed. The goal is to build a team with both emotional & rational thinkers; left & right brainers; ENTJ’s & ISFP’s. A cross-functional team who bring individual skills and a unique perspective to every project ultimately makes a positive impact in an organization. At Cyrus, as we grow our team, we strive to have candidates that will bring new experiences and ideas to the table. We screen for open-mindedness and willingness to hear the other side’s thoughts. We believe that it is essential that creative teams feel respected by their colleagues even when disagreeing.
- Create Networks – When you nurture diversity and creativity in your organization, you’re planting seeds to cultivate networked teams who go on to pioneer innovation and build future innovative products and services. Creative managers encourage collaboration, space to innovate and solve problems and understands that these teams are formed by individuals who also want to succeed on their own merits. In this sense, Creative Managers are creating markets within their organizations. Replacing a traditional hierarchal system with a more networked structure also replaces control with adaptability, conformity with diversity and so forth. Everyone at Cyrus has a mentor and often acts as a mentor to someone else, management is a secondary dimension. This provides an opportunity for peers to share experiences and ideas without thinking about “what the boss” wants.
- Update the Workplace – A well-considered workspace fosters innovation and plays a big role in the success of your organization. Creativity Managers understand that creating a dynamic office environment where employees feel inspired factors big in the innovation of new products and services. The more space, color, and flexibility you introduce in the workplace, the more likely your creative workers are to feel stimulated and motivated to succeed. You don’t have to go crazy and add a shark tank or merry-go-round to make a space interesting and inspiring, just think about creating an environment that doesn’t always feel like work and provides space for collaboration.
- Get rid of outdated restraints – The real objective here is to encourage experimentation and workplace flexibility all while introducing ways to keep the team productive, motivated and aligned to company’s mission and goals. A good creativity manager has identified good restraints and gotten rid of the ones that are just plain stupid. Some companies provide unlimited vacation time; at Cyrus’s it’s unlimited sick time. Our CEO often says “we can’t pretend that existing policies should stay simply because they’ve always been, like anything else they must evolve to meet the needs of the team and company.” Trusting your employees to be adults yields individual ownership of time and purpose, you’d be surprised what they get done when you remove constraints.
- Provide Learning Opportunities – The more freedom you allow your employees, the more likely they are to adopt a learning mindset. Creativity managers connect team members to new information instead of protecting them from outside influences. They believe in the value of knowledge sharing and collaboration. Cyrus has a culture of learning and we provide all of our employees a month per year dedicated time for personally-directed professional development. This manifests itself in our topic driven Slack channels and demos at our monthly Team Days.
Fear of giving your employees more free reign to be creative WILL kill innovation. Get rid of traditional boundaries that stifle creativity and entrepreneurship. Instead, feed enthusiasm into your team by providing space and time for collaboration and free thought. You will find that de-emphasizing traditional (and archaic) management behaviors opens boundaries to let creativity flow and that innovation will soon follow.