Creativity and Sustainable Innovation: The Essential Keys for Progress - Dr. Robert Epstein


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In order to drive sustainability within an organization, it must come from a set of practices and culture that's driven by radical thinking. Not just answers. Radical questions! Dr. Robert Epstein discusses sustainable innovation and how specific practices that stimulate creativity can be embedded into every level of an company. Topics include Generativity Theory and research, 12 creative competencies for individuals and managers, games and exercises that strengthen creativity skills and boost innovation, and three practices to keep creativity flowing.

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Creativity and Sustainable Innovation: The Essential Keys for Progress - Dr. Robert Epstein

  1. 1. Creativity and Sustainable Innovation: The Essential Keys for Progress Dr. Robert Epstein Creativity International
  2. 2. The Failure to Innovate “ The enterprise that does not innovate ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as the present…the decline will be fast.” –Peter Drucker
  3. 3. <ul><li>There’s no excuse for this failure </li></ul><ul><li>Practices that stimulate creativity and innovation can be embedded into every level of an organization </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific research can guide this process and assure success </li></ul>No Excuse
  4. 4. <ul><li>Enormous diversity: fuel efficiency, recycling, alternative energy, lighting, forestry, aviation, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>What do all of these companies have in common? </li></ul><ul><li>Driven by radical thinking... Not just radical answers , radical questions! </li></ul><ul><li>PepsiCo: what’s the carbon footprint of a half-gallon of orange juice? </li></ul><ul><li>Who would even have asked a question like that 20 years ago? </li></ul><ul><li>Answer: 3.75 pounds of greenhouse gases </li></ul><ul><li>What the sustainability industry needs most is sustainable innovation </li></ul>What the Sustainability Industry Needs Most
  5. 5. <ul><li>Generativity Theory and research: helps us understand and engineer creativity and innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity Competencies: can be measured and trained to sustain creative output at a high rate </li></ul><ul><li>Games & Exercises that strengthen creativity skills and boost innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Takeaways: three practices that will help you keep creativity flowing…. </li></ul>Science, Competencies, & Three Tips…
  6. 6. <ul><li>Competing behaviors produce new behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>The combinatorial process is orderly and predictable </li></ul><ul><li>We can accelerate and direct creativity by influencing the type and number of competing behaviors. </li></ul>Generativity Basics
  7. 7. From Pigeons to People
  8. 8. Novel Behavior Is… … orderly… … and predictable
  9. 9. <ul><li>Generative mechanisms are universal </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity can be engineered for specific ends </li></ul><ul><li>People need to learn to pay attention to and to preserve their new ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Failure is valuable for creativity, because it causes ideas to compete </li></ul><ul><li>Broad training is important for creativity, because it makes ideas available to compete </li></ul><ul><li>The physical and social environments can stimulate creativity by causing ideas to compete </li></ul>Lessons from the Science
  10. 10. <ul><li>Capturing </li></ul><ul><li>Challenging </li></ul><ul><li>Broadening </li></ul><ul><li>Surrounding </li></ul>Four Core Competencies: Essential for Individual Creativity
  11. 11. <ul><li>Encourages the Preservation of New Ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges Others </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages Broadening of Knowledge and Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Manages Surroundings to Stimulate Creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Manages Teams to Stimulate Creativity </li></ul>Managers: Eight Competencies (ECCI-m) <ul><li>Manages Resources to Stimulate Creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Provides Feedback and Recognition to Stimulate Creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Models Appropriate Creativity-Management Skills </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>50 percent Increase in ideas expressed </li></ul><ul><li>$4 million in new revenues and non-invasive cost cutting over 8 months </li></ul>Training Creativity Competencies: Long-Term Benefits (Brea, California, USA; Epstein et al., 2008)) n=74 p<.01
  13. 13. The Lola Cola Game
  14. 14. Bridges to Creativity
  15. 15. Tip #1: NO BOUNDARIES! Make All Assignment Open-Ended “ The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.” – Linus Pauling <ul><li>Cost: Zero. </li></ul><ul><li>Cases: None . </li></ul>
  16. 16. The What Game? The SRTCDJGJKLERED Game
  17. 17. Selling a Zork TOP SECRET
  18. 18. Tip #2: CHANGE YOUR SPACE! Make Your Environment Dynamic and Interesting “ The environment determines the individual.” –B. F. Skinner <ul><li>Cost: Minimal to moderate. </li></ul><ul><li>Case: BMW puts manufacturing, engineering, design, marketing, & other employees in one facility, in full view of each other. </li></ul><ul><li>Case: Pixar’s main building was designed to “maximize inadvertent encounters.” </li></ul>
  19. 19. The Shifting Game
  20. 20. Tip #3: RETOOL YOUR TEAMS! Shift, Don’t Just Brainstorm “ A committee is an alien with at least six legs and no brain.” – Unknown <ul><li>Cost: Zero. </li></ul><ul><li>Case: BMW makes extensive use of cross-functional teams & informal networks. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Embedding Creativity and Innovation <ul><li>Don’t leave innovation to chance </li></ul><ul><li>Embed it into policies and procedures </li></ul>
  22. 22. Everything You Do... <ul><li>Workspace design </li></ul><ul><li>Task and goal structuring </li></ul><ul><li>Suggestion systems </li></ul><ul><li>Improved team utilization </li></ul><ul><li>Management training </li></ul><ul><li>Competency assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Competency training </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation systems </li></ul><ul><li>Incentive systems </li></ul><ul><li>Materials and supplies </li></ul><ul><li>Policies and procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Improved scheduling </li></ul><ul><li>Process improvement </li></ul><ul><li>New efficiencies and resource utilization </li></ul><ul><li>New products and services </li></ul>
  23. 23. Companies that Use These Practices <ul><li>Google </li></ul><ul><li>3M </li></ul><ul><li>BMW </li></ul><ul><li>Pixar </li></ul><ul><li>Nintendo </li></ul><ul><li>Dupont </li></ul><ul><li>Lockheed Martin </li></ul><ul><li>Hitachi </li></ul><ul><li>Pfizer </li></ul><ul><li>Bloomberg </li></ul><ul><li>The Body Shop </li></ul><ul><li>Bell Laboratories </li></ul><ul><li>Canon </li></ul><ul><li>Honeywell </li></ul><ul><li>IDEO </li></ul><ul><li>Texas Instruments </li></ul><ul><li>Johnson & Johnson </li></ul><ul><li>Genentech </li></ul><ul><li>Procter & Gamble </li></ul><ul><li>GE Healthcare </li></ul><ul><li>Sony </li></ul><ul><li>Disney </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Cognition, Creativity, & Behavior: Selected Essays </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity Games for Trainers </li></ul><ul><li>The Big Book of Creativity Games </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific reports in Nature, Science, Psychological Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences </li></ul><ul><li>Articles in Encyclopedia of Creativity , Reader’s Digest, Psychology Today, Scientific American Mind </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Background Material
  25. 25. “ The power of imagination makes us infinite.” John Muir 19th Century American Naturalist