• A teacher finds a new way to convey the idea of photosynthesis to
• An industrialist finds a simpler way of packaging a product which
reduces the bulk by 40% yet continues to protect the product.
• A manager on the fourteenth floor of an office building uses stair
climbing as her physical fitness routine and meets two objectives
at the same time.
A lack of creative capacity can seriously undermine managerial
effectiveness, therefore here we examine :
• The psychological barriers to creativity.
• How you can systematically apply creative methods to solving
• Some ideas on applying creative thinking to work teams and
• Consider how creativity can be woven into organizational
CREATIVITY IS EXPRESSED BY PEOPLE IN ALL WALKS OF LIFE:
BARRIERS TO PERSONAL CREATIVITY
• Lack of perseverance : creativity demands endurance,
time, patience and effort. Giving up prematurely does
not promote or complete the creative process.
• Traditional habits: all people develop routines of
movement work expression, and thinking. Habits can
be enemies of creativity.
• Excessive tension: being creative often involves
feelings of uncertainty and confusion. You do not
know the answer before you begin , and this lack of a
secure foundation can provoke excessive tension.
• Muted drive: no significant development occurs
without a need for change being felt, which is the fuel
of creative endeavor . The need to innovate can be
from within or without.
• Insufficient opportunity: some of the most sufficient
innovation in history were conceived by individuals
prevented from conducting their lives normally through
illness , imprisonment or even temporary disgrace.
• Over-seriousness: creative expression often requires a
willingness to play with or be open to ideas ; sometimes
solutions lie in bizarre and extraordinary suggestions.
This playful receptivity or openness is not compatible
with excessive seriousness and an obsession with
• Poor methodology ; the lack of appropriate and effective
methods of problem solving and decision-making inhibits
creative effort . Although, creative work involves novel
thinking , it is possible to find ways of structuring such
work to increase the probability of success.
ASSESSING YOUR BARRIERS
Creative problem-solving: the tech. for Creative problem-
solving require special skills and the process involves 5
• STAGE ONE-exploring the problem: problems have to be
explored in depth to provide a basis of generating
solutions. A superficial understanding of them is not
enough. All the dimensions must be understood. One
should avoid trying to find an answer before the question
has been fully understood. There are three additional
benefits to exploring a problem in depth :
a scale of the assignment can be estimated
the task objectives and criteria of success can be
an appropriate human organization and work method
can be planned.
• form a group.
• issue each person with paper for noting.
• designate a topic.
• ask each person to brainstorm silently and write each idea
on a separate sheet of paper.
• insist that each note is completed.
• gather the ideas into groups.
• evaluate the ideas for utility and innovation.
• choose a topic or problem.
• write down the topic, preferably on a blank flip chart.
• establish a definite for stopping the session.
• during the brainstorming period write down all ideas, no
matter how outlandish or weird or apparently irrelevant
they may seem, but do not evaluate them.
• after the session, list the ideas in a logical order, explore
and evaluate them.
• STAGE TWO - Generating ideas: the techniques for
generating ideas is known as brainstorming. The
procedure for brainstorming is as follows.
• STAGE THREE: screening ideas for application.
Each idea should be reviewed against the following
-will it add value to customers (internal or external).
- is it likely to be effective?
- can it be made to work?
- is it the best choice among the available options ?
- do we want to make this idea work?
• STAGE FOUR : planning innovation
• An idea is the embryo of innovation and, if the promise is
to be fulfilled, the idea must be applied and tested.
• Implementation has to be planned, or you could risk
• For innovation to be successful one needs to clarify
objectives regularly and reflect on what is happening.
This places a special demand on the manager/person
responsible. Many problems are bound to arise, each
requiring a solution before the project can proceed.
However, if the manager becomes over concerned with
detail, he/she loses a broad perspective on the overall
• Clear, direct communication is needed if the innovation
process is to unfold systematically.
• Individuals must develop a concept or role within the
overall scheme and understand how their work relates to
that of their colleagues. Here, individual initiative is
valuable, bout for it to be useful, it must be coordinated
within a framework and with the team in mind.
SATGE FIVE : Feedback and Review
• The process of innovation is rarely neat and tidy.
• New factors constantly appear and each new piece of
information can influence the development of the
• For this reason, a means of frequently reviewing
progress and realigning objectives and plans is needed.
• Sloppy personal organization and muddled priorities can
• Because the nature of creativity increases uncertainty,
ways must be found to periodically review and collect
feedback. This reduces the risk of energy being expended
in irrelevant or confused activities and ensures that focus
is maintained. Maintaining a methodical approach –
collecting feedback on tasks, performance and
accomplishment, reviewing procedures, and adjusting
plans and objectives – is a managerial responsibility, and
it is severely put to the test when innovation is required.
• Creative Groups and Organizations
• A deeper examination of progress in innovation shows
that much has been achieved by teams, organizations, or
communities. Creative accomplishments have often been
a consequence of the pooled talent of many people.
• A team or organization that has nourished the creative
output, giving individuals the resources and back up they
needed were successful. The space programmers are
excellent examples of organizational innovation brought
about by teams.
• A creative team requires a balance of skills . For example,
a finance team will need people to translate estimated
future plans into financial strategies, to maintain the
capital structure so as to balance between risk of
insolvency and higher returns.
• Leadership is crucial to the group’s success because the
manager will want to build a resourceful and balanced
team containing a broad mixture of talents.
MAIN PROBLEMS CONFRONTING CREATIVE TEAMS
• Emerging objective: creative groups may lack clear objectives ; objectives may
change as new ideas emerge; tasks may be imprecise and the utility of their
output may only be evaluated after completion of the task. Often it is not
possible to set objectives and simply move towards them – a more flexible
approach is required.
• Insufficient approach: because organizations are notorious for withdrawing
support from creative groups, such a group must overtime communicate to
gain acceptance and ensure support , especially when results seem elusive.
• Uncoordinated activity: when searching for solutions or ideas individual
activity is often difficult to coordinate. As a result, a situation can quickly
develop in which all the group members are engage in unsystematic initiatives,
in such circumstances the cost escalate and performance suffers.
• Loss of heart : snags and setbacks can occur as a project proceeds. They can
seriously demoralize the participants and lead to a collapse of the groups
confidence, initiative and energy.
• Communication overload: creative teams need to communicate extensively.
Sharing, brainstorming and discussing clarify issues. However, too much data
can overload system, preventing key topics from being identified. Sometimes a
special computing technology for sharing data and ideas, can provide
breakthrough in managing communication.
• Inadequate review: as new ideas and data are generated, tasks change in
character and scope . Because it is not easy to stay open to change,
continuing to work on outdated guidelines can seem the easy way out . This
temptation should be counteracted by review and replanning.
• The task of being creative requires exceeding usual boundaries and
operating on a higher level of imagination. The reaction some people
is to strain in effort to concentrate on getting the best from
themselves. Such inner straining in-fact has an opposite effect,
because creative capacity can be diminished by strain and undermine
by forced imagination.
• Individuals may approach a problem with preconceived expectations,
fail to be fully aware of the challenge or the changing factors and try
to hurry towards a solution.
• While working on the creative assignment, the person can be sapped
of strength by a stream of doubts, criticism and strain. Therefore it is
not surprising that true creativity, which is a subtle human attribute,
fails to thrive under such a hostile inner psychological situation.
• Personal creativity can be enhance by finding ways of calming the
parts of oneself that promote tension.
• It is necessary to search into one’s mental makeup to find personal
barriers to creative expression.
• Almost every industry is undergoing radical change
and although there will be periods of stability, such
change is inevitable.
• Change means that managers must be innovators,
capable of generating ideas, both big and small , and
then managing change procedures to implement
new products and processes.
• Innovation operates at all levels : radical and
incremental, and both are important although the
skills needed for each are different.
• A pharmaceutical firm decides to outsource 80
percent of its research and development work.
• A railway company moves from being owned by the
public to being a commercial business.
• A hierarchical organization removes several layers
from its structure and empowers each front line
IN PURSUING RADICAL INNOVATION A
• Analyze comprehensively the current strengths and
weaknesses of the organization;
• Compare against best practices;
• Show willingness to be radical in thought and deed;
• Be able to create a broad vision;
• Involve and engage others;
• Design and implement subtle organizational change
• Be able to take difficult and, sometimes harsh,
decisions if necessary;
• Motivate others constantly through times of
• Incremental innovation also known as ‘continuous
improvement’ is based on a different but
complementary philosophy of organizational
development. Here the principle is that sustained
change is achieved not through broad changes but
by a myriad of incremental innovation. For example,
a project cannot be implemented with a concept idea
• It requires meticulous planning, each module or
stage being well thought out, assignment task and
responsibilities , constant reviewing, adapting where
needed etc. before it can be successfully completed.
IN PURSUING INCREMENTAL
INNOVATION A MANAGER SHOULD;
• Show willingness to believe in the creative power of
• Inculcate problem solving and opportunity finding
skills in every employee ;
• Reward all creative ideas ;
• Implement every idea with merit;
• Be open to innovation in the workplace ;
• Change from a directing to a coaching management
• Use specialists as supporters in the problem
• Adopt a stance of “creative discontent “, i.e.. Seeing
every situation as capable of being improved ;
HOW MANAGERS CAN LEARN AND DEVELOP
• There are two modes in learning which impact what is being
learnt and that which is developed . These are single loop
learning and double loop learning.
• Single loop learning involves solving problems with their
current definitions and a minor change in solution.
• Single loop learning is appropriate for routine issues
• Double loop learning occurs when individuals or organizers
review the definitions and the circumstances through which
the issues requiring learning occurs.
• In principle development depends on where the executive
wants to be; where the executive is now ; and how the
executive might progress.
UNDERSTANDING WHAT HAS TO BE DEVELOPED
• One approach to deciding what the executive needs to develop is to first
understand what the job requires and the qualities needed to fulfill these
requirements and comparing this to what qualities the executive possess.
the resulting gaps then becomes the focus of attention.
• Though both the requirements of the job and the qualities needed to perform
in the role will need to be customized at an individual level, it is necessary
for an executive to know in general how the capabilities can be developed.
These can be grouped into 4 categories:
executive understanding: included in the first group are those abilities which
primarily concern the executive knowledge and understanding.
executive behavior: the second group covers those abilities concerns with
improving executive behavior and action; that is, the interpersonal abilities of
influence, integration and leadership. While all three are important , the need
for effective leadership to transform organizations is increasingly viewed as
particularly critically senior levels.
executive mind: how executive think, their breath and focus as well as the
mindset they adopt, fundamentally influences how they operate at senior
levels. The cognitive and maturity abilities are therefore included in this
self directed development: the development ability is not only about what is
understood and applied, but also on how one goes about this process. As
the business environment is changing so rapidly, it is necessary that
executives are strong self-learners or cultivate the habit the of self learning.