Why can’t we be more creative?
Simple question certainly but the answer is usually a lot more complicated and a lot more work than managers want to hear. Building and maintaining an organization that is successfully and productively creative has to start with the basic understanding of what creativity is and what breeds it.
Creativity is about building something new out of what you have:
“I have a broken chair and a roll of duct tape.”
“I need a solution to our dependency on foreign oil and I have corn.”
“I need a way to read at night without the risk of fire and I know a bit about physics.”
“I have a nation that needs something to energize and unite them and I have scientists who are smart and a moon waiting to be explored.
Most organizations want the “something new” but have trouble understanding the process to get there. Unless it can be fixed with duct tape, one can’t hand a team an unrealized opportunity and expect a workable solution before the end of the day.
“Do I hear a chorus of ‘duh’s out there?”
Of course I do. But here is the part of the equation many corporate organizations miss — time is not the only variable in the equation. The path to the most creative solutions is paved with a long-term commitment to the chaos and disruption creativity causes.
Here are 10 questions that will help you determine the Capitalized Creative Commitment (CCC) of your organization:
1. Do you still live in a world of “suits” and “creatives” even though the dress code is mostly business casual? Is “creative” a department not a descriptor?
2. Are there standard phrases used to kill an idea…Too expensive, too hard, too risky, too new, too “out there,” too ……
3. Is there a single person or department that is always a bottleneck or barrier to a new way of conducting business?
4. How many layers of approval have to happen before budget can be spent to investigate a newly identified opportunity? Does it take a business case?
5. When was the last time your organization celebrated a failure as a learning and growth opportunity for individuals and the company?
6. When was the last time your company took a real stand in the marketplace with a new idea beating your competition to the punch?
7. Are employees encouraged to “play” as a part of their work assignments?
8. How much time do employees spend at their desk and not in your marketplace?
9. What is rewarded most — “A new idea or a budget savings?”
10. How would you characterize the climate of your company — “cold & brisk” or “warm & sunny?”
Obviously these are basic indicators that can help you measure your CCC Quotient. During the next few weeks as everyone is preparing for the expected push the new year brings I will be writing on “Capitalize Creative Commitment” and how you can lead your company to successful and productive creative chaos.