Monday, May 16, 2011

Sparking Creativity in Your Organization

by Virgil R. Carter

Are you looking for more creative ideas and output in your organization? In a recent article in McKinsey Quarterly, authors Marla Capozzi, Renee Dye and Amy Howe write that organizations can use “relatively simple techniques to boost the creative output of employees at any level”. This may be particularly important in many non-profit organizations, where strategy and operations follow a predictable path, year after year, while the external environment is constantly changing.

According to the authors there are four practical ways to face the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality and to encourage new creativity. The four ways are:

--Break free of pre-existing ideas: Go outside your current workplace for firsthand experiences than differ from and challenge the normal way of doing things.

--Identify and challenge core beliefs: what if the “conventional wisdom” didn’t exist? Look for new ways and opportunities to explore.

--Use the power of association: comparisons between one company/product/situation and another, seemingly unrelated one, can “stir the imagination” and spark idea generation.

--Invoke constraints: using constraints on your business model can help spark creativity. For example, what if your dues revenues are reduced by half; what if another organization begins to offer similar products?

The authors note, “Creativity is not a trait reserved for the lucky few. By immersing your people in unexpected environments, confronting ingrained orthodoxies, using analogies and challenging your organization to overcome difficult constraints, you can dramatically boost their creative output—and your own.” For the full article, see:

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