Cross Cultural Approaches To Creativity & Innovation V3


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Culture, Creativity and Innovation

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Cross Cultural Approaches To Creativity & Innovation V3

  1. 1. Cross cultural differences in approaches to creativity and innovation: the challenge for corporate management Presentation for Mini-Conference at the Vrije Universiteit [VU] Amsterdam, 28th April 2009 James Ogunleye, PhD FRSA Middlesex University, London, UK
  2. 2. Introduction - key terms defined • Culture: ‘collective programming of the mind [i.e. way of thinking, learning, processing information, perception of others, etc] which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another’ (Hofstede, 1991, p.5) • Corporate Management: ‘The people who administer a company, create policies, and provide the support necessary to implement the owners' business objectives.’ (Harvey, 2004). Corporate management can also be characterised as an act of getting things done – or accomplishing organisation goals – through people. It is all about the effective harnessing of human and material resources of the organisation towards achieving common goals.
  3. 3. Creativity and innovation as conjoined twins? • Not much universal agreement among psychologists and subject investigators on the definition of creativity and what counts as a demonstration of creativity, and neither do investigators ‘share’ a language for creativity (Welsh, 1973; Ford and Harris, 1992; Parkhurst, 1999; Joubert, 2001). • Creativity: Amar (2007) sees creativity as the ‘mother’ of innovation. We could also say creativity fuels innovation. • Innovation: Ogunleye (2001; 2006) and Majoro (1991) characterise innovation as the ‘bi-product’ or technological ‘outcome’ of creativity. • In essence, the terms creativity and innovation are often used interchangeably. A study by Sternberg and O’Hara (1999) concludes that creativity and innovation are essentially – perhaps broadly – the same things.
  4. 4. Overlapping themes of creativity Traditionally, definitions of creativity are explored under the following largely overlapping themes (see Ogunleye, 2008): • product • process • personality • environment Therefore, work on creativity and culture or discourses on cross cultural approaches to creativity are situated in one or more of the traditional themes of creativity.
  5. 5. cross cultural approaches to creativity Western conceptions Creativity as a product • Novelty and appropriateness. In other words, creative products/result or outcome a creative act has to be original and useful. Indeed, originality is a concept central to creative product... here, there is an intense focus on innovative products. Creativity as a process • Relates to a person’s ability. Mayer (1989) defines process creativity as ‘the ability to solve problems that an individual might not have previously learned to solve.’ Ability to produce work that is judged by others as novel and appropriate (Lubart and Sternberg, 1998, p.66). In essence, process creativity is intertwined with a problem- solving ability.
  6. 6. cross cultural approaches to creativity Western conceptions Creativity as a personality • Relates to how a person’s cognitive skills and their emotional experience shape creative outcome. Wason (1968) defines personality creativity as an ‘aesthetic cognitive and emotional operation’ which seeks to find solutions to a problem. • Fisher (1990) relates creativity to human attitudes and abilities which, together, ‘lead a person to produce creative thought, ideas or images.’ on intuition, Intuition is key in personality creativity – it is something that a person has to use to make connections in a fruitful and productive way. • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI-Creativity Index) and Trompenaars’ (2007) Integrated Type Indicator (ITI) are profoundly situated in the personality creativity.
  7. 7. cross cultural approaches to creativity Creativity as a condition of the environment in which people live and/or operate • the environment nurtures, enriches, and sensorily stimulates human creativity (Amabile, 1983; Cheyette, 1977; Taylor, 1971). • social/cultural environmental elements, for example, can ‘create a context in which creative work’ is hinder or facilitated; these can also ‘serve to evaluate products and performances (Lubart and Sternberg, 1998, p.65). • in a business organisation context, a creative environment will affords opportunities for people [employees and managers alike] to develop their creative potential/ or will enable people to establish creative interactions with the organisation.
  8. 8. cross cultural approaches to creativity Eastern conceptions • Product creativity: there is less emphasis/focus on product • Process creativity: there is strong emphasis/focus on process, which can be through meditation or in the case of Africans, through ‘spiritual appeals’, chanting or incantations to a deity. • Personality creativity: there is strong emphasis/focus on personality, but not in exactly the same way as the West. Personality creativity is associated with/or relates to personal fulfilment (Chu, 1970; Kuo, 1996; Lubart and Sternberg, 1998); morality; ‘spirituality, etc. • Environment creativity: there is less emphasis/focus on the environment.
  9. 9. Cross cultural approaches to creativity: the West meets the East? • There appears to be a strong convergence in cross cultural constructs of creativity when creativity is defined as a process. • In other words, both the West and the East perspectives on creativity place a strong emphasis on process. • Ironically, the similarity in the West and the East perspectives on creativity ends almost as soon as it begun! • The West and the East conceptions – or what is also known as descriptors – of creative process differed quite significantly.
  10. 10. Western conceptions of creative process Descriptors • Preparation • Incubation • Illumination • Verification
  11. 11. Creative process: the Google Chrome story To help protect y our priv acy , PowerPoint prev ented this external picture from being automatically downloaded. To download and display this picture, click Options in the Message Bar, and then click Enable external content.
  12. 12. Creative process: the Google Chrome story
  13. 13. Creative process: the Google Chrome story
  14. 14. Creative process: the Google Chrome story
  15. 15. The East conceptions of creative Process East • preparation involves prayer/ meditation for inspiration • alignment of inner self/being with the spirit of the deity • insights; rather self-focused than subject-focused • personal realisation; social communication of achievement
  16. 16. African conceptions of creativity Swahili word for creativity is Kuumba • product, • process, • personality, and • environment creativity are all emphasised in the African context. • Like the East, there is strong emphasis/focus on process and personality
  17. 17. African conceptions of creativity • Product/outcome of creativity 101. Mask Woven Grass Baskets (Tutsi – Rwanda, mid part 20th century); Brown Dense Wood with Patina (Lwena/Luvale, Zambia/Angola, mid 20th century); and a Yoruba Sculpture (Western Nigerian, by George Bamidele)
  18. 18. Process/personality creativity: learning by observation
  19. 19. African creative personalities Personality creativity • African creative writers – Chinua Achebe (top right) and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka have both been acknowledged as the ‘master craftsmen for creativity and inventiveness’ for ‘using various creative strategies and devices, to positively change the face of the English language’ (Ajani, 2005).
  20. 20. Summary – The West and the East/Africa – conceptions of creative process East/(and Africa to a West Descriptors degree) • Preliminary • preparation analysis of the involves prayer/ • Preparation problem meditation for • active inspiration unconscious • Incubation • alignment of inner work self/being with the • a sudden burst spirit of the deity of insight/ • insights; rather imagination/ • Illumination self-focused than idea/solution to subject-focused the problem • personal • Evaluation of realisation; social • Verification idea/solution; communication of development achievement
  21. 21. Challenges for corporate management • How creativity is understood in different culture as represented by employees • The need to understand the cultural characteristics and behaviours of innovative and creative people in the organisation (see Roffe, 1999).
  22. 22. A three-fold challenge for corporate management Recognising cultural differences Championing in creativity and creativity innovation and and innovation attune to those differences Encouraging creativity and innovation; integrate cross cultural differences via Trompenaars’ (2007) Trompenaars’ Integrated Type Indicator [ITI] tool
  23. 23. Concluding remarks Peng Guohui, Principal of Jindao Middle School, Guangzhou, China
  24. 24. End Note ‘Creativity is not in the person, or in the culture, but in the interaction between the two’ (Lubart and Sternberg, 1998, p.69). Thank You