Creativity within an organization can often be the lifeblood of that organization - the output that is gleaned from those individuals and employees responsible for creative provide the signature appeal of an organization. New ideas, new markets and new innovations are the things that prevent stagnation; it is one of the most important concepts inherent to an organization. However, creativity cannot be forced; new methods and strategies have to be implemented in order to guide creativity and inspire innovation - otherwise, creative staff becomes complacent, lazy or overstressed with the pressure of creating ideas out of thin air. This essay will critically analyze some of these important methods for creative inspiration.
Schuler (2002) denotes four stages of the creative process. First, there is the preparation stage, wherein a creative team immerses itself in the problem at hand - this is where information is gathered, and roles are formed within the group to assess specific problems. Incubation occurs where the initial problem is set aside temporarily, but the group is still coming up with solutions mildly and independently of the larger group. Illumination occurs when the 'eureka' moment is found; the single bit of inspiration when a creative idea is formed that brings the work back to the problem. Execution happens when the illuminated idea is acted upon with determination and dogged persistence, leading to organizational management having the most input. This type of creative approach emphasizes the germ of an idea, and a more organic approach to supporting the creative staff, as opposed to streamlining idea generation methods.
Amabile (1988) has a componential model of creativity and innovation in organizations that operates on three broad organizational factors. First, there is the organizational motivation to innovate, wherein the organization itself is stirred to be creative and support the aforementioned creative efforts. Next, the resources stage involves gathering everything that creative personnel have at their disposal for assistance in their work; the more resources are available, the better the creative team can work. Finally, management practices involves the extent to which management is involved in the creative process; the goal of management is to create interesting work and clear goals for development strategies, as well as formation of work teams that will work well together. The goal of an organizational manager is to create an environment that will support creativity through these processes. Amabile's approach is mean primarily for managers and organizational leaders, who will learn how best to equip and support their creative team.
DeSalvo (1999) details several smaller methods and tips to enhance creativity in an organization. Asking employees about their enthusiasm for the job, removing blocks to creativity, and enhancing fun in the workplace are part and parcel of the creativity enhancing mechanisms advocated by the author. Ice breakers and mental breaks are used to brainstorm and enhance productivity in meetings. These small tips are meant to be supplements to an existing creative solution; however, they do not provide a clear, concise process by which to perform creative tasks.
Leonard and Swap (1999) detail several nonlinear steps to the creative process, steps which are very similar to Schuler's approach except done in a nonlinear fashion, and which involve external forces not pertinent to the direct innovation efforts of the organization. First, preparation allows for the creative team to train their minds and individual strategies for the project. Innovation opportunities must be made available to be exploited by the staff and employees. Ideas are generated by the staff in a divergent manner; many different notions are weighed and incubated in the thoughts of the creative team. Then, the team converges and selects the options that are ideal solutions for the problem. This approach places emphasis on the opportunity for innovation, and creating as many options as possible for solutions as opposed to focusing on creating just the few good ones.
Double loop analysis is another method of achieving creative goals, one which can be applied to whatever creative process that is implemented by an organization. Within double loop analysis, goals to previous problems are examined in order to improve upon the goals or decide that the goal is not worth pursuing. This method of reflective practice can be used to great effect in order to streamline goals and put the best energies of a creative team into their correct places.
The issue of creativity is one that is absolutely vital to organizational practices. A marketing firm, for example, must create new ideas for campaigns, or any other type of firm must find solutions to either internal or external organizational problems, from innovative new products to sell to creative ways to improve organizational practices such as staffing or accounting. The application of any of the aforementioned strategies is absolutely vital to maintaining a fresh organization and appropriately inspired staff.
Amabile, T.M. (1988). Model for Creativity and Innovation in Organizations.
DeSalvo, T. (1999). Unleash the creativity in your organization. HR Magazine.
FindArticles.com. Retrieved from
Leonard, D. & Swap, W. (2005). When Sparks Fly, Harness the Power of Group Creativity.
Schular, A.J. (2002). Business Creativity and Innovation: How to Build an Innovative Culture.
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