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HOW INNOVATION CAN HELP YOU SURVIVE A RECESSION

Can innovation help your business survive tough economic times?

 

If you were to type “innovation and corporate problem solving” into a Google search enquiry you would quickly find your answer.  Innovation is probably the most important area that needs your attention because it will not only help you survive, but prepare you for the recovery.  Faulty decisions in tough times can be fatal decisions.  Evaluation of ideas is as critical as the ideas themselves in normal business times, but in tough times the evaluation process can often be more important.

 

Does your business have a formal Innovation Program and a structured Problem Solving and Decision Making Process?

 

In the late 1980’s and the early 1990’s when the last tough economic cycle was raging and business’s were failing I saw many businesses fail because they did not have a formal problem solving and decision making process.

 

One of the classic cases of this is when businesses borrowed offshore in Swiss Francs because the Swiss interest rates were much lower than those in most other countries. Many of the businesses that borrowed in Swiss Francs did not have a structured problem solving and decision making process when they considered taking out these loans.  If they had gone through this process themselves or used a decision analysis consultant they would have realized the danger of their home currency weakening against the Swiss Franc and the amount of the loan increasing in their currency.  This did in fact happen and businesses in a wide range of industries failed because of the increasing value of the debt owed.  Although there was a number of court cases about this issue the real crux of the matter is that a potential problem analysis would have picked this issue up and risk management strategies could have been put in place before going ahead or an alternative strategy could have been chosen.

 

Problem Solving and Decision Making Results in Action

 

There are a number of providers in this area.  The one that I have been trained to use  and actually used on an operational basis is the Kepner-Tregoe system. 

 

In the next post I will look more closely at what the Kepner-Tregoe system does and how it supports innovation in the business community.

 

Jack Taggerty

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HOW DO LEADERS PREVENT GROUP THINK?

 

How leaders prevent Group Think

I once watched in awe how a great leader in an organization managed the group dynamics in a difficult situation to take the organization’s culture from a disaster to renewal within the space of one weekend.

The situation arose following the merger of two nation wide financial services organizations.  One of the organizations was dominant after the other had nearly failed financially.  There was a great deal of bitterness between the two staff from each of the merged entities.  It was also a time of bitter industrial disputes when the staff were actually damaging employer’s property and morale was very low.

The managing director at the time by passed the state administration and selected 100 employees from a cross section of roles at all levels from both backgrounds of the merged entities.  He invited them to stay as his guests for a weekend at the Hyatt hotel to discuss the issues.

He divided them into ten groups with members from both of the merged entities and set them to the task of identifying the critical issues causing the poor morale and industrial disputes. They were also requested to recommend ideas for solutions to the problems.  Each of the ten groups had a spokeperson that was not a senior member of staff.  Naturally, this process had change management facilitators whose role was to ensure the process of innovation and idea generation flowed smoothly in the ten groups.

From the conference consultative committees were formed with regularly reporting of progress of the recommended solutions to the board, senior management and staff.  This meeting became a legend over the ensuring years and the morale of the organization turned around along with its financial performance.

Decision making groups are not all destined for Group Think

The writers of Wikipedia have reported that Irving Janis has devised  the following methods of preventing Group Think: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_think:

Quote:

According to Irving Janis, decision making groups are not necessarily destined to groupthink. He devised seven ways of preventing groupthink (209-15):

  1. Leaders should assign each member the role of “critical evaluator”. This allows each member to freely air objections and doubts.
  2. Higher-ups should not express an opinion when assigning a task to a group.
  3. The organization should set up several independent groups, working on the same problem.
  4. All effective alternatives should be examined.
  5. Each member should discuss the group’s ideas with trusted people outside of the group.
  6. The group should invite outside experts into meetings. Group members should be allowed to discuss with and question the outside experts.
  7. At least one group member should be assigned the role of Devil’s advocate. This should be a different person for each meeting.

Endquote

How did  John F. Kennedy avoid Group Think during the Cuban Missle Crisis?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_think:

Quote

By following these guidelines, groupthink can be avoided. After the Bay of Pigs invasion fiasco, John F. Kennedy sought to avoid groupthink during the Cuban Missile Crisis.[4] During meetings, he invited outside experts to share their viewpoints, and allowed group members to question them carefully. He also encouraged group members to discuss possible solutions with trusted members within their separate departments, and he even divided the group up into various sub-groups, in order to partially break the group cohesion. JFK was deliberately absent from the meetings, so as to avoid pressing his own opinion. Ultimately, the Cuban missile crisis was resolved peacefully, thanks in part to these measures.

Endquote

In the next post I will start to look at managing innovation and ideas in tough times when the survival of a business can be on the line

 

Jack Taggerty

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HOW DO LEADERS PREVENT GROUP THINK?

 

How leaders prevent Group Think

I once watched in awe how a great leader in an organization managed the group dynamics in a difficult situation to take the organization’s culture from a disaster to renewal within the space of one weekend.

The situation arose following the merger of two nation wide financial services organizations.  One of the organizations was dominant after the other had nearly failed financially.  There was a great deal of bitterness between the two staff from each of the merged entities.  It was also a time of bitter industrial disputes when the staff were actually damaging employer’s property and morale was very low.

The managing director at the time by passed the state administration and selected 100 employees from a cross section of roles at all levels from both backgrounds of the merged entities.  He invited them to stay as his guests for a weekend at the Hyatt hotel to discuss the issues.

He divided them into ten groups with members from both of the merged entities and set them to the task of identifying the critical issues causing the poor morale and industrial disputes. They were also requested to recommend ideas for solutions to the problems.  Each of the ten groups had a spokeperson that was not a senior member of staff.  Naturally, this process had change management facilitators whose role was to ensure the process of innovation and idea generation flowed smoothly in the ten groups.

From the conference consultative committees were formed with regularly reporting of progress of the recommended solutions to the board, senior management and staff.  This meeting became a legend over the ensuring years and the morale of the organization turned around along with its financial performance.

Decision making groups are not all destined for Group Think

The writers of Wikipedia have reported that Irving Janis has devised  the following methods of preventing Group Think: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_think:

Quote:

According to Irving Janis, decision making groups are not necessarily destined to groupthink. He devised seven ways of preventing groupthink (209-15):

  1. Leaders should assign each member the role of “critical evaluator”. This allows each member to freely air objections and doubts.
  2. Higher-ups should not express an opinion when assigning a task to a group.
  3. The organization should set up several independent groups, working on the same problem.
  4. All effective alternatives should be examined.
  5. Each member should discuss the group’s ideas with trusted people outside of the group.
  6. The group should invite outside experts into meetings. Group members should be allowed to discuss with and question the outside experts.
  7. At least one group member should be assigned the role of Devil’s advocate. This should be a different person for each meeting.

Endquote

How did  John F. Kennedy avoid Group Think during the Cuban Missle Crisis?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_think:

Quote

By following these guidelines, groupthink can be avoided. After the Bay of Pigs invasion fiasco, John F. Kennedy sought to avoid groupthink during the Cuban Missile Crisis.[4] During meetings, he invited outside experts to share their viewpoints, and allowed group members to question them carefully. He also encouraged group members to discuss possible solutions with trusted members within their separate departments, and he even divided the group up into various sub-groups, in order to partially break the group cohesion. JFK was deliberately absent from the meetings, so as to avoid pressing his own opinion. Ultimately, the Cuban missile crisis was resolved peacefully, thanks in part to these measures.

Endquote

In the next post I will start to look at managing innovation and ideas in tough times when the survival of a business can be on the line

 

Jack Taggerty

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WHEN IS GROUP THINK LIKELY TO OCCUR?

 

 

 

What are the conditions that are likely to lead to Group Think?

 

There are various views by writers on this topic, but from my own observations over a long career in banking, accounting and financial services where I have personally seen many examples of Group Think the following elements were invariably present:

 

  • A dominant leader
  • A lack of an organization wide Innovation Program to manage ideas and creativity
  • A strong culture of uniformity
  • A lack of a problem solving, decision making framework and process

 

The writers at Wikipedia have similar experience and thoughts here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_think

Quote

Highly cohesive groups are much more likely to engage in groupthink[clarification needed]. The closer they are, the less likely they are to raise questions that might break the cohesion. Although Janis sees group cohesion as the most important antecedent to groupthink, he states that it will not invariably lead to groupthink: ‘It is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient condition’ (Janis, Victims of Groupthink, 1972). According to Janis, group cohesion will only lead to groupthink if one of the following two antecedent conditions is present:

  • Structural faults in the organization: insulation of the group, lack of tradition of impartial leadership, lack of norms requiring methodological procedures, homogeneity of members’ social background and ideology.
  • Provocative situational context: high stress from external threats, recent failures, excessive difficulties on the decision-making task, moral dilemmas.

Social psychologist Clark McCauley‘s three conditions under which groupthink occurs:

  • Directive leadership.
  • Homogeneity of members’ social background and ideology.
  • Isolation of the group from outside sources of information and analysis.

Unquote

The Boss is always right!

 

I can recall being introduced into a new department of my employing Bank and informed that the way to get ahead was to be enthusiastic about the Boss’s ideas and to never disagree with him.  Of course when something that the Boss had initiated went wrong it was always someone else’s idea!  This occurrence is not uncommon.

 

 

 

The main symptoms of Group Think

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_think

Quote

In order to make groupthink testable, Irving Janis devised eight symptoms that are indicative of groupthink (1977).

  1. Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
  2. Rationalising warnings that might challenge the group’s assumptions.
  3. Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.
  4. Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, disfigured, impotent, or stupid.
  5. Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of “disloyalty”.
  6. Self censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
  7. Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
  8. Mindguards — self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.

Groupthink, resulting from the symptoms listed above, results in defective desision making. That is, consensus driven decisions are the result of the following practices of groupthinking:

  1. Incomplete survey of alternatives
  2. Incomplete survey of objectives
  3. Failure to examine risks of prefered choice
  4. Failure to reevaluate previously rejected alternatives
  5. Poor information search
  6. Selection bias in collecting information
  7. Failure to work out contingency plans.

Unquote

In this post I have looked at when Group Think is likely to occur.  It is necessary to know this if you are to be forewarned as a leader and therefore can take action to prevent it occurring.  This is important in the information age when you can have widely spread participants in a Task Force.

In the next post I will look at what steps a leader can take to prevent Group Think occurring once he is aware that it is a possibility.

 

Jack Taggerty

 

 

 

 

 

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WHAT IS GROUP THINK AND CAN IT BE DANGEROUS?

 

What is Group Think?

 

Group Think is quite often present in many of the world’s greatest disasters.  It is often only in retrospect that the presence of Group Think is shown to be present and the fundamental cause of a disaster.  The key issue is how do you identify it and prevent it from occurring in the first place.  This is where you can read what the writers at Wikipedia think about the issue http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_think. The following is an extract of the article:

 

Quote

Groupthink is a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking are lost in the pursuit of group cohesiveness, as are the advantages of reasonable balance in choice and thought that might normally be obtained by making decisions as a group.[1] During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking. A variety of motives for this may exist such as a desire to avoid being seen as foolish, or a desire to avoid embarrassing or angering other members of the group. Groupthink may cause groups to make hasty, irrational decisions, where individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance. The term is frequently used pejoratively, with hindsight.

Unquote

 

What is the cost of Group Think disasters?

 

There is no shortage of policy decisions and fiascoes that can be traced back to Group Think as the underlying cause.  In fact many books have been written about the subject.  One of the best books on the subject is “Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decision and Fiascoes” by Irving L Janis . 

 

How many zeros are in a trillion dollars?  The cost of the financial crisis sweeping the world has not yet been identified as resulting from some major global banks dropping lending standards in a Group Think disaster, but history may well reveal that it was. If you have any doubt about this read the articles at http://www.worldbank.org/  or one of the numerous blogs, such as: http://www.globaleconomiccrisis.com/blog/ .  What do you think the cause was?

 

In the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making , Volume 2 Issue 3, Pages 167-177 an Article was published by James K. Esser and Joanne S. Lindoerfer entitled Groupthink and the shuttle challenger accident: Toward a quantitative case analysis.

 

It puts the case that there was strong evidence showing groupthink was a contributing factor in the incorrect decision to launch the Challenger and the disaster that followed.

 

In the next post I will continue to look at the intriguing topic of Group Think and what can be done to identify it and prevent the damage it can do at an organization level.

 

Jack Taggerty

 

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MANAGING INNOVATION

 

Risk management is a part of innovation

 

For an organization looking to introduce an Innovation Program there are two types of risk management required.  The first risk management is that the culture of an organization may not have been well managed and an individual putting forward a well thought out constructive suggestion will be forced out by the corporate culture.  This may seem incredible, but it actually happens.  I will discuss this in later posts. The second risk is one of the processes of managing ideas and creativity.

 

The process of innovation today requires the realization that knowledge workers deal with ideas, tools and creativity to innovate and often produce new intellectual property assets that are systems based and that the existing and traditional methods of management and control may not be able to readily cope with a new concept or process. Knowledge workers are often able to work around existing systemic controls (if they exist) to accomplish exceptional results (profits) and losses. This is why a formal evaluation process by the organization is required so that a team process is used and the risks of the change proposed can be identified, discussed and managed.

 

 Risk management processes that lag behind innovation can lead to disastrous results.  A classic example of this is the collapse of Barrings Bank Plc which resulted from trading in derivatives with inadequate controls.  It is for this reason that organizations developing an Innovation Program (I.P.) should think through all the issues prior to going down the path so that the I.P is holistic in its approach.  In this way participants know that in putting forward an idea that they will be supported and the team will discuss and evaluate it thoroughly.

 

Innovation management needs the right culture and leadership

 

Innovation needs the commitment of the leadership team.  An interesting example is the Innovation Services of the Australian division of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.  To read more about how Deloitte embedded innovation in the DNA of their Group go to http://www.deloitte.com/

 

Knowledge work needs to be managed

 

Jack Bergstrand in his book Reinvent Your Enterprise talked about the need to manage knowledge work to improve productivity.  Knowledge work improvement is based on creativity, ideas and innovation.  The writers at Wikipedia have some interesting discussion on the issues involved at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_work_productivity Here is an extract:

 

Quote:

Managing Knowledge Work to Improve Productivity

Throughout Drucker’s life he emphasized that the next level of economic growth [6] needs to be driven by knowledge work productivity — requiring that managers simultaneously make their present Enterprise more effective, identify and realize its potential, and create a different Enterprise for a different future [20]. In so doing he suggested that business leaders needed to continually shift resources from less productive to more productive areas [21] through better knowledge work productivity and innovation.

Manual work is visible, specialized, and stable, whereas knowledge work is invisible, holistic, and ever changing. Unlike manual workers, knowledge workers use their situational knowledge to get things done in a dynamic environment. They are almost always formally educated and are called upon to run and change their functions and organizations simultaneously.

Knowledge workers acquire knowledge—through a combination of education, experience, and personal interaction—and then use that knowledge to holistically achieve organizational goals in changing environments. This work is generally much more project oriented than manual work, and Enterprise productivity improves faster when one area of knowledge can be rapidly transferred to another.

One reason that knowledge work has been difficult to manage is because of its nature to expand to fill the available time [22]. It is also commonly stymied by organizational disconnects within and across hierarchies [23][24]. To manage the invisible and elastic nature of knowledge work better, Drucker suggested that we think about it more systematically. He advised that Enterprises strive to remove unproductive work, and restructure work as part of an overall system to create a satisfied customer. In this light he suggested that knowledge be organized through teams – with clarity around who is in charge at what time, for what reason, and for how long [4][5].

To create a working system to manage knowledge work more productively it’s useful to compare and contrast Taylor’s thinking on manual work with Drucker’s on knowledge work:

Frederick Taylor on Manual Work

Peter Drucker on Knowledge Work

Define the task

Understand the task

Command and control

Give Autonomy

Strict standards

Continuous innovation

Focus on quantity

Focus on quality

Measure performance to strict standard

Continuously learn and teach

Minimize cost of workers for a task

Treat workers as an asset not a cost

Source: Reinvent Your Enterprise

Unquote

The successful introduction of an Innovation Program into an organization or an industry is not easy and requires strong leadership and integrity.

In the next post I will look at the phenomenon of Group Think and innovation.

 

Jack Taggerty

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ORGANIZATION CULTURE AND INNOVATION

 

Can the organization’s culture determine whether it is innovative or not?

Before you can consider this question it is best to try and describe the elements that comprise an organization’s culture.  This is important because many change management specialists that are hired to improve an organization’s culture fail.

Even though the chairperson and the board of directors of an organization have resolved that their organization needs to improve the way a company encourages creativity, ideas and innovation whether individually or by teams it does not guarantee success. This also applies even when they hire the best change mangement specialists available to implement an Innovation Programme and offer employees monetary incentives for important ideas.  It seems incredible that this can be the case, but it is true that an organization’s culture is very powerful and it has intrigued academics.  Here is what a leading writer on organizational culture with Wikipedia had to say about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_culture

Quote

[edit] Edgar Schein

Edgar Schein,[7] an MIT Sloan School of Management professor, defines organizational culture as:

A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way you perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems“.

According to Schein, culture is the most difficult organizational attribute to change, outlasting organizational products, services, founders and leadership and all other physical attributes of the organization. His organizational model illuminates culture from the standpoint of the observer, described by three cognitive levels of organizational culture.

At the first and most cursory level of Schein’s model is organizational attributes that can be seen, felt and heard by the uninitiated observer. Included are the facilities, offices, furnishings, visible awards and recognition, the way that its members dress, and how each person visibly interacts with each other and with organizational outsiders.

The next level deals with the professed culture of an organization’s members. At this level, company slogans, mission statements and other operational creeds are often expressed, and local and personal values are widely expressed within the organization. Organizational behavior at this level usually can be studied by interviewing the organization’s membership and using questionnaires to gather attitudes about organizational membership.

At the third and deepest level, the organization’s tacit assumptions are found. These are the elements of culture that are unseen and not cognitively identified in everyday interactions between organizational members. Additionally, these are the elements of culture which are often taboo to discuss inside the organization. Many of these ‘unspoken rules‘ exist without the conscious knowledge of the membership. Those with sufficient experience to understand this deepest level of organizational culture usually become acclimatized to its attributes over time, thus reinforcing the invisibility of their existence. Surveys and casual interviews with organizational members cannot draw out these attributes–rather much more in-depth means is required to first identify then understand organizational culture at this level. Notably, culture at this level is the underlying and driving element often missed by organizational behaviorists.

Using Schein’s model, understanding paradoxical organizational behaviors becomes more apparent. For instance, an organization can profess highly aesthetic and moral standards at the second level of Schein’s model while simultaneously displaying curiously opposing behavior at the third and deepest level of culture. Superficially, organizational rewards can imply one organizational norm but at the deepest level imply something completely different. This insight offers an understanding of the difficulty that organizational newcomers have in assimilating organizational culture and why it takes time to become acclimatized. It also explains why organizational change agents usually fail to achieve their goals: underlying tacit cultural norms are generally not understood before would-be change agents begin their actions. Merely understanding culture at the deepest level may be insufficient to institute cultural change because the dynamics of interpersonal relationships (often under threatening conditions) are added to the dynamics of organizational culture while attempts are made to institute desired change.

Unquote

Yes, Edgar Schein’s is right, organization culture can be amazingly powerful and stop critical innovation and reform.  It can extend to an entire industry and can remain unchallenged until some disaster forces the issues to be confronted and addressed. However, the culture of a company or even an industry can be managed so that the participants willingly become involved in innovation and reform and this can be a powerful force for change.

 

In the next post I will look at Innovation Management

Jack Taggerty

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CAN CREATIVITY BE MEASURED?

 

If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it

The above maxim is often quoted by results focused organisations and there are varying views whether or not creativity can be measured.  However, when you look at many of the worlds leading companies it is apparent that the success of the companies is quite obviously tied to innovation, creativity and ideas e.g. microsoft and google. It is their competitive advantage over their rivals. Creativity may be difficult to measure, but it is clear that organizations that fail to understand that they need to foster a corporate culture that encourages ideas, creativity and innovation has started to go down the path leading to their demise.

 

Many Wikipedia writers have contributed their thoughts to the issue of measuring creativity and it is worth reading the article in full.. .  The following is a quote from that article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creativity.

 

Quote

MEASURING CREATIVITY

 

Creativity quotient

Several attempts have been made to develop a creativity quotient of an individual similar to the Intelligence quotient (IQ), however these have been unsuccessful.[39] Most measures of creativity are dependent on the personal judgement of the tester, so a standardized measure is difficult, if not impossible, to develop.

[edit] Psychometric approach

J. P. Guilford‘s group,[11] which pioneered the modern psychometric study of creativity, constructed several tests to measure creativity in 1967:

  • Plot Titles, where participants are given the plot of a story and asked to write original titles.
  • Quick Responses is a word-association test scored for uncommonness.
  • Figure Concepts, where participants were given simple drawings of objects and individuals and asked to find qualities or features that are common by two or more drawings; these were scored for uncommonness.
  • Unusual Uses is finding unusual uses for common everyday objects such as bricks.
  • Remote Associations, where participants are asked to find a word between two given words (e.g. Hand _____ Call)
  • Remote Consequences, where participants are asked to generate a list of consequences of unexpected events (e.g. loss of gravity)

Building on Guilford’s work, Torrance[40] developed the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking in 1966. They involved simple tests of divergent thinking and other problem-solving skills, which were scored on:

  • Fluency. The total number of interpretable, meaningful, and relevant ideas generated in response to the stimulus.
  • Originality. The statistical rarity of the responses among the test subjects.
  • Elaboration. The amount of detail in the responses.

The Creativity Achievement Questionnaire, a self-report test that measures creative achievement across 10 domains, was described in 2005 and shown to be reliable and valid when compared to other measures of creativity and to independent evaluation of creative output.[41]

[edit] Social-personality approach

Some researchers have taken a social-personality approach to the measurement of creativity. In these studies, personality traits such as independence of judgement, self-confidence, attraction to complexity, aesthetic orientation and risk-taking are used as measures of the creativity of individuals.[6] Other researchers[42] have related creativity to the trait, openness to experience.

[edit] Other approaches to measurement

Genrich Altshuller in the 1950s introduced approaching creativity as an exact science with TRIZ and a Level-of-Invention measure.

The creativity of thousands of Japanese, expressed in terms of their problem-solving and problem-recognizing capabilities, has been measured in Japanese firms.[43]

Howard Gruber insisted on a case-study approach that expresses the existential and unique quality of the creator. Creativity to Gruber was the product of purposeful work and this work could be described only as a confluence of forces in the specifics of the case.

Unquote

Helping companies be more creative and innovative

If you were to google the above subject you will find a host of companies claiming that they can help companies become more creative. Some of the services offered are: thinking training, creativity courses, creativity seminar, innovation training, creative thinking techniques, creative workshop, innovation sourses and seminar.  I believe that these service providers will help a client company in all these areas because the company’s directors have recognized the need to manage the organizations’s culture.

 

In the next post I will have a look at the topic of corporate culture and innovation.

Jack Taggerty

 

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WHAT IS CREATIVITY?

 

Defining what is an idea

 

This is what the contributors to Wikipedia thought:

: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idea

Quote

An idea is a form (such as a thought) formed by consciousness (including mind) through the process of ideation. Human capability to contemplate ideas is associated with the ability of reasoning, self-reflection, and of the ability to acquire and apply intellect, intuition, inspiration, etc.. Further, ideas give rise to actual concepts, or mind generalisations, which are the basis for any kind of knowledge whether science or philosophy or impulsiveness.

In a popular sense, an idea arises in a reflex, spontaneous manner, even without thinking or serious reflection, for example, when we talk about the idea of a person or a place.

Unquote

 

What causes a creative idea to occur?

 

From what the contributors to Wikipedia have written it would appear that creativity is an idea or insight that grows into a concept or a series of related ideas.  Initially From an innovation and organizational point of view this can lead to innovation.  It is from innovation that new or changes to existing products, policies and procedures will evolve that may lead to a clear economic benefit to society.  However, this does explain what initiates a creative idea or whether creativity can in fact be taught.  Eric Baum in his book “What is Thought” “proposes a computational explanation of thought” according to his Amazon reviewer.  I suspect that the chemistry that leads to creative ideas is more complex as creativity in occupations is highly influenced by the culture of organizations where people work. This is what the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creativity reference states:

 

Quote

Creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts, creativity is fueled by the process of either conscious or unconscious insight. An alternative conception of creativeness is that it is simply the act of making something new.

From a scientific point of view, the products of creative thought (sometimes referred to as divergent thought) are usually considered to have both originality and appropriateness.

Although intuitively a simple phenomenon, it is in fact quite complex. It has been studied from the perspectives of behavioural psychology, social psychology, psychometrics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, philosophy, history, economics, design research, business, and management, among others. The studies have covered everyday creativity, exceptional creativity and even artificial creativity. Unlike many phenomena in science, there is no single, authoritative perspective or definition of creativity. And unlike many phenomena in psychology, there is no standardized measurement technique.

Creativity has been attributed variously to divine intervention, cognitive processes, the social environment, personality traits, and chance (“accident”, “serendipity“). It has been associated with genius, mental illness and humour. Some say it is a trait we are born with; others say it can be taught with the application of simple techniques. Creativity has also been viewed as a beneficence of a muse or Muses.

Although popularly associated with art and literature, it is also an essential part of innovation and invention and is important in professions such as business, economics, architecture, industrial design, music, science and engineering.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the ambiguity and multi-dimensional nature of creativity, entire industries have been spawned from the pursuit of creative ideas and the development of creativity techniques.

Unquote

What do you think?  Are ideas for improvement accepted in your organization?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IS BLOGGING AN INNOVATION?

 

 

Defining innovation

 

According to the writers in Wikipedia innovation is defined as follows:

 

Quote

The term innovation means a new way of doing something. It may refer to incremental, radical, and revolutionary changes in thinking, products, processes, or organizations. A distinction is typically made between Invention, an idea made manifest, and innovation, ideas applied successfully. (Mckeown 2008) In many fields, something new must be substantially different to be innovative, not an insignificant change, e.g., in the arts, economics, business and government policy. In economics the change must increase value, customer value, or producer value. The goal of innovation is positive change, to make someone or something better. Innovation leading to increased productivity is the fundamental source of increasing wealth in an economy.

Unquote

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innovation

 

Defining an idea

 

This is an interesting definition of innovation when compared to that of an idea which is as follows:

 

Quote

An idea is a form (such as a thought) formed by consciousness (including mind) through the process of ideation. Human capability to contemplate ideas is associated with the ability of reasoning, self-reflection, and of the ability to acquire and apply intellect, intuition, inspiration, etc.. Further, ideas give rise to actual concepts, or mind generalisations, which are the basis for any kind of knowledge whether science or philosophy or impulsiveness.

In a popular sense, an idea arises in a reflex, spontaneous manner, even without thinking or serious reflection, for example, when we talk about the idea of a person or a place.

Unquote

 

What about Group Ideas

 

Lisa Sabin – Wilson in her excellent book WordPress for Dummies said this on page 248 “Have you ever considered running a community with hundreds of users who operate their own blogs?  And accomplishing all that using just one domain name?  You can do that – with WordPress MU.  In this part, I introduce you to the sometimes

  

complicated but always exciting WordPress MU, and tell you how you can create and maintain a multi-user blogging Community.”

 

OR

 

You may allow authorized users to comment on an organization’s blog subject to certain guidelines.  Professional organizations quite often do this when asking for feedback concerning a reform or change that they wish to implement.   Naturally, you have to be a member and sign in with your password.  However, it is clear that this method of gaining input from a broad base of users or contributors working together to bring a positive change is a fundamental change in the process of thinking that will lead to better outcomes in policy development and process improvement

 

CONCLUSION

 

Blogging will lead to an increase in productivity because it leads to ideas developed by teams being implemented and is therefore an innovation.

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