Every organization is systemically and uniquely creative, made up of its employees’ cumulative creative capabilities and experiences. To make innovation work in that context requires a way of devising an organizational framework that recognizes the unique creative contribution of each person whilst fitting it into the individual uniqueness of the organization’s creative culture as a whole. Digital collaboration technologies, currently the digital rage such as ideation platforms (the process of creating and capturing ideas), take a one shoe fits all approach to organizational creativity, regardless of the inherent uniqueness of the creative culture of the organization. Further, ideation platforms create disruption to organizational process when they are layered onto existing technology infrastructure currently driving the organization. Unless there is genuine intrinsic motivation for an employee to participate, the ideation platform will die along with the innovation initiative, subsumed into the myriad of current digital technology processes employees are required to engage with on a daily basis. My recent research shows a failure rate as high as 80% on money spent
Envisioning is a vital leadership capability in the information age. On-line streaming media shouting “the next big thing is...” creates uncertainty and confusion about current realities. Big data produced by technology reveals abstract patterns of a global world in ways that seem at times incomprehensible except to those who specialise in big data interpretation whilst organizations reduce risk at all costs by adhering to technology processes stifling the envisioning required to drive imagination and innovation. The truth is envisioning - to picture in the mind - is a human attribute technology cannot replicate. My recent research reveals most organizations and their leadership talk about the future yet very rarely develop envisioning as a basic organizational skill for creating value.
The more I research organizational innovation, the more I become certain that rule breaking is its basic tenet and rule breaking in a world controlled by systems thinking comes at personal risk. Over the last couple of months, I have stumbled across extraordinary stories about how individuals have taken dangerous personal risks with good intentions, to follow a hunch or an insight around their work that has been impeded by entrenched bureaucracy or prevailing popular organizational orthodox. I am focusing my research for the next couple of articles on this area to see if I can discover the conditions, circumstances, motivations and associated patterns that cause these acts of risk taking and what the outcomes might be. (At the end of the article I offer a contact email address if you have similar experiences you would be happy to share). Some importance context around this phenomenon to commence. Organizational innovation is very difficult because the creative endeavours and behaviours that go into firstly creating an idea and then secondly implementing it to produce innovation are subtle, nuanced and idiosyncratic. No two situations are the same when it comes to organizational creativity and like the very act of conception itself, it takes many little unique ideas to make a single implemented innovation. Yet the technology underpinning larger organizations demands the organization follow the same process by doing the same thing in the same way in the same situation every time. It does seem ironic
Creativity conferences are now some of the longest annually occuring live learning events globally. The US Creative Problem Solving Institute Conference is in its 59th consecutive year; the American Creativity Association Conference is in its 25th consecutive year; the South African Creativity Foundation Conference is in its 19th consecutive year and CREA, Sestri Levante Italy and Mindcamp in Toronto, Canada are just babies starting out with only 10 consecutive years each under their belts. There is a reason for this phenomenon. Creativity conferences deliver to adults creative learning experiences years of formative education failed to deliver and continues to fail to deliver. Unlike academic conferences