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Creativity and Culture Management

Many concepts in the fields of managing creativity are very much applicable to culture management in general. The same concepts that foster creativity and innovation also maximise human capital potential, increase productivity, reduce costs and maintain competitive advantage etc. Some of the many commonalities between culture and creativity management follow.

a) A culture of psychological safety and freedom. A culture that limits experience, information and expression and allows relatively few members to contribute to decision-making is not taking advantage of the immense pool of available talent. Just as idea-generating sessions are conducted in environments that limit judgement, in order to elicit the contribution of all participants, so that philosophy should be extended throughout the organisation permanently.

b) Motivation is more important than natural ability. This is similar to possessing high intelligence - one must be motivated to apply it and improve it. Human capital is optimised when participants have high intrinsic motivation and i) synergistic extrinsic motivators are present to facilitate the task and ii) non-synergistic facilitators are minimised. Further, specific motivators such as i) gap between ideal and real self, ii) degree of enjoyability, iii) degree of challenge, iv) feasibility, v) degree of self-determination, vi) recognition, vii) material reward, viii) time pressures, ix) project numbers and complexity and x) competition versus collaboration etc need to be measured and monitored.

c) Team structures. The group structure affects individual productivity. Individuals working alone, when motivated, have high output levels, but suffer from path dependency, parochialism and a lack of intellectual cross-pollination. Pairs reduce some of these tendencies and as groups get larger, negatives begin to outweigh the positives - group think, status differentials and deference, politicking and the restriction of information are just some examples.

d) Competency and tacit knowledge mix. Without a varied tacit knowledge and competency mix and a collaborative approach, a number of things happen: i) groups significantly under-perform and ii) the gap between individuals increases. Competitive advantage is lost in the group, team, department and eventually the organisational level.

These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com

Kal Bishop, MBA

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