Looking for creative fire starters brought back to mind a study done by the Chicago Economic Development Council where only 25% of manufacturers in the greater Midwest seemed to have a clue when it comes to recognizing the need for constant technological innovation to stay ahead of (or even keep up with) the international market.
The scary part is that for the majority of the organizations in that top 25% only the leadership was actively concerned about innovation. That means that innovation was being driven from the top down, probably seen as unnecessary or worse by the majority of the organization. Consistent, incremental and even groundbreaking innovation often comes from the bottom up. Your employees who are working with customers, working with tools, working with procedures are often in the best position to imagine improvements.
More importantly, creative fire is a state of mind. If innovation is regularly improving a companies performance and generating rewards at all levels, then the organization will be more accepting of radical innovation that may be necessary to create a new competitive landscape.
In other words, your creative fire will burn brighter if everyone is searching for fuel not just a few.
The Chicago Economic Development Council is at www.edcchicago.org.