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2017 Note: Though this was written several years ago, its equally relevant today. It's been my most requested keynote and on-site workshop. "Ideas are
the new commodity of the 21st century." Richard Florida - Rise of the
How much is an idea worth?
Apparently enough that some companies are now adding the skill of innovation to
each employee’s performance evaluation.
Innovation? Yep. In essence what’s being expected from every “rank and
file” employee in some corporate settings is the ability to come up with ideas
(not to mention the need for critical thinking skills as well).
that this ability – the ability to generate ideas and to problem solve – will
be a key deciding factor in whether to hire or retain certain employees. Ok…I
might be getting ahead of reality here, but wouldn’t that be an
idea worth implementing in some way? I do believe it can happen -- but only if
companies begin to see and experience that creativity is a skill -- a skill
that can be learned!
some leaders in top companies have already embraced that notion. In a study conducted by the IBM
Leadership institute, it was revealed that 1500 CEO’s identified creativity as the
most essential leadership competency in impacting the success of their
companies going forward. I think that might surprise some. Yet it was a
current economic climate what would be the most compelling “skill” in all work
sectors but the ability to generate ideas for any pressing challenge and to
innovate ourselves out of a lagging economic recovery.
here is a piece of reality from my world. As I’ve traveled through-out
North America these past 13 years conducting creative and innovative thinking
workshops, most people I’ve encountered don’t believe they are creative let
alone have a practical way of being so as it applies to real-life enterprise
recently, I was conducting a creativity workshop for a company whose industry
is going through some major changes. There were over 45 of their top leaders
there and when asked, “How many of you honestly believe you are creative?” …5
of the 45 raised their hand. Houston – we have a problem.
Some reading this might be
thinking, “Well not everyone is creative.” Oh contraire my friend. The
exciting point is everyone is creative in some way - it’s consistently proven
in my workshops. The sad reality is not very people know it or believe it and
even fewer have been taught how to be so – practically.
is not reserved for the “artsy fartsy” folks! This belief truly blocks the
non-artsy from embracing and tapping into their own creative potential.
Essentially, it is a critically relevant skill that must be incorporated into
all company cultures – top leadership on down. It should no longer be seen as
an unapproachable, optional capability.
simplest form creativity is about generating ideas and we all have done
that! It's also about problem
solving and we've all done that as well. Creativity asks of us to source for
something outside our current circumstance. That
whole "thinking outside the box thing" suggests this. It invites an
approach to problem solving that asks us to go where no man probably has gone
before (or at least forgot they've been) as suggested by Albert Einstein,
"You cannot solve a problem at the same level of thinking at which you
arrived at it."
creativity then, it can be seen as a simple act with a profound impact! We just need
to uncouple the complications and misunderstandings that have been created
order to address our corporate challenges of process improvement, developing a competitive edge, doing
more with less, achieving new and better outcomes creativity must be embedded
in every work culture in a way that is approachable and practical.
be able to help all stakeholders see that we all exhibit creative thinking in
some way and then be trained on how to channel that capability into meaningful
contexts for both corporate and professional success.
explore bringing the topic of creative and innovative to your company or next
professional event - click here. (It comes
in a full and 1/2 day workshop, keynote and conference break-out.) If you're in the Iowa area join me for the Kirkwood Community College - Create Speaker Series - click here to learn more
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