Many people confused creativity with innovation. Creativity is the ability to bring forth new ideas. Innovation is the transformation of selected ideas into improved processes, marketable goods and services. The conversion of ideas into profits is the essence of innovation. Creativity or the power of idea creation is simply the starting point. This brings us to the key point - it is innovation, not creativity that ultimately matters.
One of the major obstacle to innovation is the lack of creative leadership. A truly creative leader sets an example for openness and imagination and assessment of ides from any quarters regardless of rank, file and age or source, whether internal or external. A creative leader creates the conditions where human ingenuity can flourish.
Innovation mean relying on everyone’s creativity based on her belief that organizations are living systems rather than machines. Margaret J. Whitley (consultant and professor of management) outlines 6 principles on the human dimension for innovations:
1. Meaningful engagement
- Discover what’s important
- Engage in meaningful issues
- Notice what people talk about and where they spend their energy
- No 2 people see the world exactly the same way
- Different people do things differently
- Failure to encourage unique and diverse way of doing things will destroy capacity to innovate.
3. Involve anytime who is interested.
4. Unity in diversity
- Common purpose is what binds people together.
5. People will always surprise us.
- Listen to colleagues
- The act of listening brings people closer together
- Important not to attach any label to anyone.
6. Rely on human goodness
- People want to help
- People want to contribute
- Everyone want to feel creative and hopeful again.
- Turn to one another and engage in the intentional search for human goodness.
Innovation comes as much from the heart as from the head. Passion for creativity must come first before any innovation can happen. Creative leader must involve all their people and tap into their creative energies that take into account the human dimension of encouraging diversity, sharing a sense of purpose and recognizing that each person is a talented unique individual.
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Yew Kam Keong