Creativity and Innovation is everyone’s job

Create Lions before you are trodden over by your own herd of sheep.
By Ferey Kian
Kian Finance Authority

Embed innovation and creativity as foundational pillars in your business strategies, as altering the established culture of your organization later proves challenging. Just as individuals require support for generating novel ideas, organizations demand a nurturing environment that fosters creativity and innovation, irrespective of being in the service industry or product-driven.

Allow me to share invaluable insights gathered from diverse experts, clients, students, and two decades of personal experience in innovation, creativity, and design. Additional sources and ideas can be explored in the references provided.

Craft a business strategy that mandates daily innovation from every member of the organization. Ensure that creativity and innovation seamlessly integrate into the fabric of your organization, drawing inspiration from successful examples like Whirlpool’s innovative business strategy (referenced below). Take a moment to explore the link provided after perusing this information.

Setting Up Your Organization for Creativity: A Strategic Approach

To sEstablishing a foundation for creativity within your business requires a critical examination of its structure and strategies. Ensure your organization is primed to foster innovation:


Creative and Innovative Teams

  1. Do you have teams dedicated to fostering creativity and innovation?
  2. Do you actively encourage creative thinking or expect adherence to rules?
  3. Walt Disney’s approach, where every individual embraced the role of Walt Disney, highlights the potential for duplicating leadership. To cultivate a culture where clients eagerly return and bring friends, your team should be inspired contributors to business innovations.

Embracing Creativity as a Core Strategy: The Disney Example

Examining Disney’s organizational strategy reveals an embedded culture of creativity. While Walt Disney may not have supported deviation from his ideas, he succeeded in creating a workforce that saw themselves as Walt Disney. This ability to duplicate leadership is a key aspect to emulate.

Implementing Ideas: A Strategic Process

Selecting and Developing Ideas: 

  • Choose one idea or approach to address a problem or create opportunities.
  • Develop it into manageable segments, indicating benchmarks for progress.
  • Assess the potential for duplication and commercialization.

Commitment and Action:

  • Make a commitment to the chosen idea despite potential challenges.
  • Take action even in the face of skepticism.
  • Overcoming Mental Barriers: Unlocking Creativity

Identifying Areas for Innovation:

Explore overlooked areas in your organization.

Recognize and overcome limitations in imagination.

Addressing Mental Barriers:

  • Acknowledge personal and team mental barriers.
  • Confront fears of failure and assess associated risks.

Inspiring Teams:

  • Foster a culture where teams are inspired to contribute ideas.
  • Avoid micromanagement that hinders innovation.

The Role of Experience in Creativity

Contrary to common belief, creativity is not solely intrinsic or genetic. While these qualities are advantageous, inspiration, encouragement, and practice are crucial. Innovation and creativity must be sown into the vision, mission, and strategy of the organization to become inherent in services and products.

Encouraging a Creative Atmosphere: The Role of Leadership and Management

Leadership and Creativity:

  • Leaders inspire creativity, while managers efficiently implement it.
  • Recognize the importance of both leadership and management.

American Ingenuity:

  • Challenge the conventional by doing things differently.
  • Encourage innovation and envisioning the unexplored.
  • Visualization and Communication: Keys to Successful Innovation

Visualizing Ideas:

Encourage visualization of innovative ideas.

Help staff and clients understand how innovations can benefit them.


Communication and Visualization:

  • Focus on developing a plan for visualizing your work.
  • Prioritize a strategy that allows stakeholders to comprehend your innovations.
  • Conclusion: Unleashing Creativity in Your Business Strategy

In conclusion, a successful business strategy must integrate everyone’s imagination, creativity, and innovation. Avoid restricting creative minds to cubicles, and instead, embrace a culture that nurtures and celebrates innovation.

Having said that, once you did come up with an idea, now you need some time to develop it, and work on it, until it’s proven to be commercialized; and to weed out all the unnecessary steps to develop a short path to the goal.

wizardJust as you can develop leadership, creativity is nurtured by motivation, positive feedback and inspirations.  Creativity and Innovations don’t magically happen. They need to be sowed, and carefully imbedded in the vision, mission, and strategy of the organization.  It has to be the heir apparent in all your services and products.

Despite common belief, creativity is not intrinsic, intuitive, and genetic, although these are inarguably a plus for those who may have inherited such qualities, even Mozart couldn’t be the genius we have come to appreciate without inspiration, encouragement, and…. practice.

If a job can capture one’s mind and soul, there’s no meaning to TGIF.

To watch the act, set the stage!

I have had many experiences with people who told me creativity or innovation is not their little thing . I know a cashier who worked for over 20 years at the cash register, who told me creativity is the boss’s job.  One of my old set-up crew at the Miami Arena told me that the reason Bono fell off from the stage during a rehearsal (on the long stage set up going through the Arena), could be fixed (as he did it) with a minimum cost, saving us millions in damages, lawsuits and embarrassments.   You CAN encourage your staff to step gingerly outside the red circle you may have drawn around them.  In short, innovation has to be all around us just like the atmosphere around the earth–even within the 6 feet radius of anyone’s desk. Creativity and innovation engages our heart and mind, and if a job can engage one’s mind and soul, there’s no meaning to TGIF. People look forward to speak about their passion 24-7.

money people

Having said that innovation and creativity can be honed and nurtured, I am not holding my breath to see if everyone is on the wagon. All I’m saying is this: You need to have the door open. Innovation will enter when the time is ripe. The picture hopefully says the rest.

Complacency is such a lovely Dungeon-Master.

cowsignAlthough it takes leaders to inspire creativity, it needs managers to implement it efficiently.  We need both: One to untie your wings, the other to show you the nest, and help you lay those golden eggs.

One of the persisting old school practices in most American enterprises is the over-dependency on how things were done in the past, and how to increase the quantity to beat the past performances.  The ingenuity of Americans however, as Mark Twain once observed, and Jim Rohn rephrased is this: To succeed doing the opposite: to do things that has never been done before; to pull things out of the thin air; to envision what wasn’t there, to be perceptive amidst confusion. This is the American way.

Exactly as our kids can relate to aliens better than they can relate to cows, oaks, or pelicans all around them, if we can visualize your ideas, we will relate to them. Little kids may not have a clue about what their burgers are made of, but they have a good image of a spaceships and aliens. This is the secret of Hollywood: imagination can be more real than the real thing.  For that matter we are all in a different Matrix?

We can relate to fictions out of Hollywood better than facts of Washington.  {as a side note, that’s perhaps why we need politicians to look and act like celebrities, and fib about problems that don’t mean anything, instead of addressing the real issues.}

Let your staff and your clients see how your innovation can help them in the way they can visualize your ideas. This needs to be your major focus.  Do you have a plan that can help us visualize your work before you tell us about it?

To summarize: Your business strategy needs to harness everyone’s imagination, creativity, and innovation.  Don’t try to shoehorn your creative staff back into their cubicles.

Some of the sources used in this article and more reading material:

Creative Intelligence, 1/e (A. Rowe)

No additional online materials are available for this textbook.

>>Click here to access the Rowe website

Managing Innovation, Design and Creativity , 1/e (B. Stamm)

No additional online materials are available for this textbook.

>>Click here to access the Stamm website

The Power of Impossible Thinking, 1/e (Wind and Crook)

No additional online materials are available for this textbook.

>>Click here to access the Wind/Crook website

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