Business Creativity and Innovation – your questions answered
Below is a short list of some of the questions that people ask most often or which they use as search phrases to arrive at this website. We hope the answers help you, but if not then please get in touch using the contact us tab on the left side of any web page or using any of the methods shown on the Get in Touch page.
If you have a look around this website you are highly likely to want to ask questions. Please have a look at the list below to see if your question is listed. If not then you can make use of 'Creativity to go', our new service which responds to your (simple) questions sent via email, twitter or skype.
What is the difference between creativity and innovation?
Big! Creativity is just one component of innovation and is simply the way in which we come up with ideas. Innovation uses new ideas as well as existing ideas and knowledge for a purpose (usually commercial). Note that Innovation can be applied to new products, services or processes. It is purpose and the concept of commercialisation that differentiates Innovation from Invention.
How does creativity contribute to the success of an organisation?
You will have heard the phrase "if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got". In order to survive you will need to fend off the competition which means doing things differently to either cut costs, provide new products and services etc. These ideas will need to come via some sort of creative process. Also, one of the by products of creating a culture that allows creativity to flourish is that you will end up with intrinsically motivated employees.
How can you spot creativity?
Unfortunately you will not observe large coloured clouds of creativity or vigorous flag waving but the signs will be obvious. You will observe motivated employees, a different attitude to risk, the ability to think around issues and a degree of flexibility. Managers who manage in this environment will also use a different management style. The most obvious evidence will be in improved performance, improved quality and the ability to be a market leader. Long term, creativity will allow organisations to thrive and not just survive.
How can you measure innovation?
Using our Innovation Toolkit. This measures soft skills and your capacity to innovate rather than by identifying and then measuring harder Key Performance Indicators. Measuring capacity can be done now whilst KPIs will only change once your Innovation programme is up and running. We measure such things as attitude to risk, management style, vision, awareness of competitive environment and the ability to stretch employees. For in depth information please contact us.
How do we get to employ you?
- Telephone or email us using our contact details
- Tell us about your needs and desired outcomes
- Invite us to submit a proposal
- Review our proposal and say "yes"
Can creativity be managed?
Yes and no. This is a slightly ambiguous question. Creativity cannot be directly managed as employees need to be intrinsically motivated, however what can be managed is the framework in which employees operate, what we call "unmanagement". Think of this like building a greenhouse and letting plants flourish rather than directly watering and feeding plants. There is still a lot that can be done and there is a huge gap between the best and worst creative organisations.
What are the major barriers to creativity and innovation?
For up to date results see the survey on the front page of this website. Currently poor leadership and management lead by a long way. There are other barriers such as mindsets, too little information, too much information or being risk averse.
What resources are required to introduce creativity?
None! You can start by simply changing attitudes and working practices on a small scale. If you can afford to invest in creative spaces, extra white boards or enabling technology then you can give yourself a bigger boost. Creativity comes directly from your employees, so if you are going to invest then invest in them (recruitment, learning and development).
Are creativity and innovation dependent on national culture?
At a high level they are not. The models we use appear to transcend national cultures. There are local differences when altering working practices or running workshops though.
What models do you use for creativity and innovation?
Our influences for creativity are wide and varied and include Edward de Bono, Jane Henry, Tudor Rickards, Ricardo Semler, and Peter Checkland to name a few. As far as Innovation is concerned we have developed our own Innovation Equation which allows us to explain and create buy in for Innovation as well as providing the basis to measure it directly. As far as methodology goes, we have attempted to describe it in our guide New Innovation Model.
How much does creativity cost, is it expensive?
It can be free but this is rare. A one day workshop will cost you several hundred pounds and will not be the entire solution to your problems. For a small company all that might be needed is a few short sessions working with senior managers who can then sow the seeds and actively encourage creativity. For a larger company a program costing several thousand pounds may be required. If you really need to know a cost then get in touch and we will talk it through with you. You cannot embrace creativity by gazing at a price list and buying off the shelf.
How do I pick a supplier to help me?
We would like you to talk to us of course but we produced a short guide to Buying Creativity that might help you in selecting and managing a partner to help you.
How soon will I be able to see a benefit?
Almost immediately. You will notice employees attitudes change very quickly and changes to outputs will take a little longer, maybe taking several months for maximum benefit. If you are running an innovation programme and you want to see somewhat harder outputs then you will not get maximum payback in less than 12 months.
I don't like doing anything too wacky, is this for me?
Of course. Creativity does not just mean painting or tree hugging. We try to make you see things from an alternative viewpoint using a variety of techniques. You will obtain maximum benefit from doing things that you feel comfortable with. This does not mean that you can get away without trying anything new at all!
Is there a right way to embrace creativity and innovation?
It may sound like a cliche but the right way is your way. This is the major reason why copying what everyone else is doing (often disguised as best practice) does not work very well. You need to understand creativity and then apply it in your own context and measure/manage it in your own way. We can help with the understanding and facilitation, you have to do the rest.
What kind of results can we expect?
Your organisation will become more flexible and adaptable. There will also be signs of reduced stress and increased intrinsic motivation. Any ideas for new products or services will be better thought out and more fully formed.
How can we measure these?
Again, our Innovation Toolkit can help with identifying and measuring key drivers.
We have very little time, how long does this take?
Well, we can make a start in 60 minutes, but the whole process will take a little longer. Once we are clear about your needs, we will be very straight forward with you about what results you can expect in the time you have available. We cannot promise to turn you into a high performance car when you only have time for a visit to the car wash. Seriously, expect a fully blown Innovation programme to take 9 months or more to realise tangible new products. At the other extreme, an audit using our Innovation Toolkit followed by a 2 day "Creating The Difference" workshop will see you a long way towards creating exciting new strategies for the future.