Creativity and Innovation is essential for competitive advantage, yet the role of Creativity and Innovation Manager is often not viewed as essential. Organizations without such a role will simply not perform as competitively as their rivals.
People within and outside of an organization see problems all the time, but rarely are those problems dealt with in time. Tangible negative movements usually force change – shortcomings in expected growth, a fall in share price etc.
Some of the requirements of Creativity and Innovation Directors, Consultants or Managers include:
a) Tracking problems as seen from within and outside the organisation. On all levels, from product development to sales and marketing and customer response, people see problems. Reporting them to line managers is rarely sufficient – line managers usually do not have direct links to the real decision makers.
b) Monitoring competitors and benchmarking in-house creativity and innovation processes and structures. Rivals are continually attempting to gain market share and sporadically, leapfrog the competition. Lack of awareness and preparation can be disastrous.
c) Conducting sustained problem identification and idea generating sessions. Problem identification and idea generation need to be consistent activities to maximise output and train all members of the organization into problem solving proactively.
d) Monitoring group structures to maximise productivity. Teamwork throughout the organization can be optimised with careful consideration of group structures.
e) Ensuring tangible links to decision makers.
f) Ensuring tangible progress of ideas along the innovation pathway.
g) Selecting those ideas that are most likely to succeed, using the S-curve, idea source probabilities and so forth.
h) Monitor and maximise motivation.
i) Assist members of the organization in maximising their creative and innovative output. Some organizations have already started such schemes – one day per week when people are allowed to work on projects they find interesting.
j) Monitor competencies and import knowledge to overcome parochialism and path dependencies.
k) Ensure sustained feedback pathways between departments involved in problem identification, idea generation, idea selection, development and commercialisation exist.
There is much more….
In conclusion, organizations cannot verbally espouse the creativity and innovation management philosophy without installing creativity and innovation directors, managers and leaders. Not without a loss of competitive advantage.
This topic is covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com. You can also receive a regular, free newsletter by entering your email address at this site.
Kal Bishop, MBA
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