Monday, March 22, 2010

What place does imagination, creativity and innovation have in organsiations?

I posed the above question to members of some Linkedin groups that I belong to.
The responses are interesting enough for me to want to share them on this blog..

This one from Crispin Garden-Webster.

"This is a fascinating area Wayne. I do think imagination is a necessary condition for innovation although there is a lot of urban mythology about innovation from unexpected outcomes; (3M stickies etc) . Imagination is a natural human capacity and I guess organisationally the issue is this:

How do we find the sweet spot between removing some of the barriers (rules and processes) that discourage people from exercising their natural capacity for imagination and managing compliance and risk.

High compliance cultures with prescriptive business processes trade innovation for predictable and consistent performance .While so called 'creative cultures' try to eschew prescriptive practices in the belief that this will enable people to generate more imaginative solutions. Edison famously said..."Hell there are no rules around here, we're actually trying to achieve something".

In reality if unintentionally, most organisational design constrains imagination by using structure, process and incentives to drive out variability and achieve repeatable and consistent business performance. But when you ask leaders about what is important for innovation and development they tell you things that are more often associated with informality, experimentation, spontaneity, collaborative experiences, failure, coaching and dialogue. For most part, jobs are designed as part of a performance structure, and hopefully learning is part of the journey. It is difficult for an organisation to encourage imagination and innovation when the operating model is designed to manage risk."

Your comments are welcome!

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