Innovation is essential for continued survival. We are told that globalised markets generate increased competition. There is pressure on every element of business: sales, costs, quality, productivity, service, talent management. This pressure, along with the widespread economic downturn has led to the return of the people or profit mentality. The notion that you can either be good to your people or drive profit, but you cannot have both.
Research into employee engagement has shown that this clearly is not the case. People are what make any business successful. The more engaged your people, the stronger the correlation to improved business performance in all key areas.
We are all creative; yet so many of us claim not to be. In the workplace, a great deal of the creativity gets miss-directed or lost. Â The challenge is that much of the miss-directed creativity can actually prove a business burden rather than a benefit.
What is creativity?
Simply, it is thinking beyond current boundaries; often referred to as â€˜out of the box thinkingâ€™
From a creative perspective, the further away from the boundaries the idea is; the better. Einstein once said â€˜if an idea is at first not absurd, there is no hope for itâ€™.
Of course businesses are rarely looking for creativity for creativityâ€™s sake. What they are really seeking is innovation.
What is innovation?
Innovation is creativity that adds value. Â For a business, that value is typically aligned to the strategic plan.
How does employee creativity get miss-directed?
Well, in the quest for improved performance and profitability, we push our people hard and seek to control through simply telling them what to do. We send the message that coming up with ideas is clearly the task of senior management. But, have you ever noticed just how creative people get when faced with something they donâ€™t like, or disagree with? In my experience, people are incredibly creative and resourceful in getting round a problem or situation they donâ€™t want to deal with. Imagine harnessing that creative energy.
An engaged employee is far more likely to focus that creative energy into solving problems rather than avoiding them. Given the right tools and support, that can add tremendous value to your business.